It's a Wrap — See you in November.

I will admit that I am feeling extra sentimental lately. Yes, because ALL ON THE LINE wrapped its first season but it’s also most likely because I spoke at the commencement ceremonies of the Fashion Institute of Technology, my alma mater, recently. At the graduation festivities I concluded with the turning of the tassels and my parting words of inspiration, motivation and passion. Or at least I hope I did. I told the class of 2011, this was not the end of school. No, in fact, the learning will continue — for the rest of their lives. And I’m speaking from experience.  Life education doesn’t end when the instructors have packed their papers and gone home. No, instead, their methods and reasoning will hopefully live on in everything you do. I wasn’t inspired by every instructor I ever had, but the ones that did affect me, stayed with me.

And in some ways, my personal success is a testament to them.

Cut to the AOTL designers.

While none of them were students, nor was I their teacher, we all shared familiar woes and wows. Each were trying to “make it” in a tough and fickle business. Each were trying to find their mark in the world of fashion. Each wanted some level of success, recognition and validation for the work they did. And I tried, the best I could, to help with my experience and expertise. Which, as you’ve all seen on season one, is not as easy as it seems. We’ve wrapped this season with some designers making the cut while others weren’t so fortunate.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my favorite part of ALL ON THE LINE — its unrelenting fear to show real life.

From day one, I said that the authenticity of this show and genuine hard work and dedication of all these designers were the backbone of why AOTL is so special and I don’t think I’m wrong. Regardless of all my frustrations, disappointments and even anger during much of the process with these designers, there isn’t one I don’t admire in some way or another. Whether it’s standing by your convictions, designing with passion or succeeding with drive, they all had an end goal. And while this was no game show, they each strived for that proverbial prize, which is bigger than any gift package found behind door #1.

I look back at all eight designer episodes of AOTL with reflection, insight and pride. Would I have done anything differently if we did it all again? And honestly, I don’t know. For me, the situations unveiled in such a genuine way, I’m not sure if I could live my life again in playback. That just wouldn’t be real. Because there are no pause buttons to life. At least, not life as I know it. My only hope would be that, they, the graduating class of ALL ON THE LINE Season One, can take some of our experience together and make it work for them, growing and learning long after the cameras and I have gone, and finding personal and professional success along the way.

I love that journey I took with each designer this season and as I embark on a new season and a whole new crop of talent, I have no idea what to expect. Other than the fact, that hopefully, we’ll be learning a lot from each other. I can’t wait.

See you in November.