The elegant mentor of Bravo's "Project Runway" has built a following as a reality TV anti-Trump. Instead of bullying the show's aspiring designers into submission, he is the gentle voice of reason encouraging them to - here comes the catch phrase - "make it work."
"I'm thrilled by the fact that people like my seriousness, like the support that I bring to (the fashion industry) and the fact that I believe in it," the 54-year-old told The Associated Press in a recent interview.
"And that I'm not snarky about it and that I'm not making fun of people - and that I'm not on the red carpet delivering one-liners about how terrible people look."
Gunn, the chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne Inc., brings his sartorial expertise to a new makeover series, "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style," premiering Thursday on Bravo. Along with former model Veronica Webb, he coaches women out of their fashion ruts by dispensing advice on finding the right fit and other wardrobe issues.
"We're not offering a fashion prescription to people," he said. "We're not saying, 'Well, if you wear this, this, this and this, all your fashion foibles will be fixed.'"
That said, the show begins with Gunn picking apart a subject's closet - ugly clothes, be gone! - and ends with him revealing her style transformation to friends and family. This is a staple of makeover shows. Naturally, he and Webb often run into resistance from the subject.
Gunn told one stubborn woman, "You know, you can go right back home to your cargo capri pants and your tank tops and we don't have to do this. ... because I can't want you to succeed more than you do."
Gunn, who is now filming the fourth season of "Project Runway," said the biggest fashion mistakes people make are when they wear clothes a size - or several sizes - too big or small.
"For women that are larger in size, they tend to dress in clothes that are ample because they feel that it hides all that," he said. "And, in fact, it doesn't. It accentuates it - if anything, it makes them look bigger."