Elle Magazine Creative Director and reality TV personality Joe Zee made a personal appearance in two of our stores this week. His new show, All on the Line is dedicated to helping struggling designers bounce back from near ruin.
His first success story, Radenroro, is now available in our stores and online. While providing styling tips and shopping with customers, as well as toasting the success of his show and the Nordstrom launch of Radenroro, the refreshingly gregarious Zee spoke with our editor about his newest venture, how to free up your wardrobe and why he’s looking forward to the warmer months ahead.
For those who haven’t seen the show, can you describe Radenroro and what type of woman it most appeals to?
I think what’s really great is that it appeals to women of all ages, and they’ve done really versatile pieces, so it doesn’t become a limiting wardrobe. It becomes a great top, a great skirt, a great jacket, even a great dress that you can wear from day into night. You can wear the pieces with flats and flip-flops all the way up to a great pair of heels and a necklace and go out at night. You can pair a top with a pair of jeans, or you can put it with a dressy pair of pants. Those ideas become so versatile.
In fashion today, you want to buy something that feels like an investment, not something that feels like a fad. That’s what they have accomplished. Once we got rid of what they were doing that was generic and got them to do something that felt memorable and special, then I felt we really nailed it.
When choosing the designers you were going to help on the show, why Radenroro—what about the label caught your attention?
The casting process was really collaborative between Sundance, Authentic Entertainment (the production company) and myself, but I think what we really loved about Radenroro was that they had a very interesting story. They had been around for seven or eight seasons, and I’d never heard of them. I basically see everything, so that was really intriguing to me.
Then, when I looked to some of their clothes, I thought there was the beginning of an idea there. I felt like, this is what girls want, and I could see girls walking down the street wearing this, but Radenroro hadn’t quite pinpointed it yet.
I get this itch in me where I’m like, just give it to me! I know if I can just twist it a little bit, I know I can make that happen; I just have to turn the dial. It’s a thing in me where I feel like I can make it happen if I can just get to them, and that part of wanting so badly to help them was a big trigger.
In the first episode, you said, “sometimes bad is better than boring.” As in better to take some risks than none at all?
I’m a big believer in taking a risk. I’m also a big believer that if you’re going to walk into a room, someone’s going to remember good and bad, but nobody’s going to remember someone in the middle. And I’d rather be remembered than not noticed at all. I’m a big celebrator of personal style—go out there and do what feels right for you, good or bad, and it’ll work on you. It’s just good or bad subjectively. Go out there and take a risk. Make a statement. Put it on. Don’t dress for other people, dress for yourself!
Like I said, Radenroro can design a black dress, but who needs that? It sounds so unmemorable to me, so why don’t you go out there and make a dress that people will want to remember.
If you did a show about a woman’s struggling wardrobe instead of a designer’s struggling label, what advice would you give to breathe new life into her closet?
I think many women get style-challenged because they feel like, “oh, that skirt can only go with that top,” or, “I can only wear that jacket with these pants,” and they get stuck in a rut. It becomes, “I don’t have anything to wear.” I love when women just break it all up. Take a chance. Do things.
I think people often don’t even realize you can take a suit and break it up: put the jacket with jeans, put the pants with a different blouse. Just do it. Just mix it all up. Put ‘that’ with ‘that’ one day, and just give it a try.
That’s such a freeing philosophy.
But it’s true though. So many people have dresses hanging in the back of their closet with a price tag still on them because they think, “oh, I don’t have the perfect shoes to wear that with.” But you really do have the perfect pair of shoes. Just go for it; just do it.
On a different note, what are you excited about in fashion for spring and summer?
The one thing I really love right now that makes me feel like I can’t wait for spring and summer is color.
In New York City, we have had a ton of snow. If I have to look at another snow bank, I’m going to have to jump out the window. It’s just been the most dreary winter. So I want to see happy colors. I want to see happy people. I want to see people dressed head-to-toe in bright tones walking down the street and for it all to be just very cheery. Lots and lots of color.
Shop for lots and lots of color yourself, and visit the Sundance Channel to see more info and a programming schedule for All on the Line.