Times Up!

Drawn on stitching? Diva antics? Mad maniac? Glued on pieces? Who is Jeffrey Mackinnon?

CF: Well done on getting that far in the competition were you sad to leave?
JM: Conceptually yeah I was sad, I think we all wanted to make it to final three so we wouldn’t have the constraints of the show put on us, so that we could actually show what we are really capable of.

That is my biggest regret about the show, I’m horrified that people will judge me based on what they saw which is a fraction of what I can do. I didn’t realize until I got in there just how bad it would affect me.

CF: So tell us about what kind of designer you are.
JM: Normally I do custom evening wear and bridal. I’ve worked for Wayne Clark and one of Canada’s top bridal manufacturers. That’s really my thing, that’s what I enjoy doing and the reason I enjoy doing it is because you know I’ve made dresses for the Oscars, the Emmys and so on, when people are coming to you to work your designs, it’s not something you can do in 5 minutes. I spend time doing a lot of handwork, finding fabric and fitting the clients and things like that, that is what I enjoy doing and that is my strength but the show is not conducive to that.

And as naive as I sound, I really was naive walking into it, I didn’t think it was so ingrained in me that I had to do things properly and correctly, I just kept running out of time. Even last Wednesday's dress there were like 3 dresses in there because it was reversible, it was cinch fabric to make it opaque enough and not enough time left over to fix the zig zag machine. I was struggling with time frame a lot which is what was a big reason why I went home, the judges saw that I was having problems getting my designs across.

CF: What was the hardest challenge, the final challenge or dealing with Kim?
JM: Umm. Well I didn’t have to deal with Kim until the end of it, all the little looks going on behind my back, it surprised me but I didn’t know that was going on. It was the task, it’s just it’s a beat the clock experience.

I’m hoping people are getting that it’s time that is working against us and you don’t get a sense of the time frame at all watching it. So it’s hard, cos I’ve read some of the blogs and people are judging us but it’s like hey judge me on the fact that we had 5 hours to make this like don’t think this is even half of what I can do I mean common, get real…get real!

CF: What was Iman like?
JM: Iman was amazing. She was literally the first person that I have met that has this massive amount of presence, you can literally feel her walking into the room she emanates strength. Every time she walked onto the runway I had the big stupidest grin because you know she has been at the forefront of fashion for so many years. She’s been right there front row. She is an icon and absolutely beautiful.

CF: What lessons did you learn from the show… if any?
JM: It was a hard lesson to learn but I really feel that …you have to be true to yourself, it was difficult to deal with the fact that…I mean usually I’m not questioned on things. Usually my fit is not questioned my quality is not questioned because I’m doing it in my own time and doing it in my own space, so to suddenly have your norm changed and not have enough time and not have good quality fabrics and different things like that really makes you insecure, it made me insecure. I no longer felt that I could stand behind my work.
I don’t know when I’ve last felt like that and that really throws you off, it sucked my confidence dry.

It’s a lot to take in, in a short period of time.

It’s so unfortunate that the work that I showed on the show is so sub par to what I would normally do, because that is what Canada sees, I turn all that stuff out and I’m so embarrassed but it is what it is, at the end of the day I still feel like I do things the right way for me. I’ve worked in the industry for so long and now I do what I enjoy doing which is taking my time making something beautiful it’s like a craft!

CF: Who do you think should win the competition?
JM: Sunny impressed me I mean Sunny’s impressed everybody with how he has dealt with all the challenges; he’s very talented and clear. He is very well equipped to get the job done quickly and very good at showing where his design sensibilities were.

I really like Jessica she is such a sweetheart, and I was so happy for her. She totally needed a boost and you could just tell that she got her confidence back and at the end of it. Just to even know that they acknowledged that she’s done a great job and gotten past the previous challenge is very good. She really is a sweet heart, I’m happy she’s able to focus again cos it’s so easy to get caught up with lack of sleep and drama it’s difficult to focus sometimes.

CF: What are you working on now?
JM: Usually what I do is custom so since I left the show it’s like I don’t have a line I need to show people what I’m doing because I’m just making stuff and giving it to a client and that’s it so I started doing a line of wedding dresses and I’ve updated my website.

I also do evening wear, I wont be showing this collection but I’m going to see if I can show it for the next Toronto Fashion week I have a lot of redeeming to do. I want people to know that I am not the outfits I did on the show. You know time is really the enemy, I mean I’ve never used glue before, double sided tape I mean the time crunch was crazy, it was a matter of get it done it doesn’t matter what it looks like on the inside you can’t worry about what it will look like 3 hours from now, you just have to get it on the runway, it’s a major time crunch. But we just had to suck it up and get the work done.

Jeffrey Mackinnon Website

Photos courtesy of Canwest and Jeffrey Mackinnon

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