Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer (2015) is a documentary tailored for viewers interested in fashion. There is a great Cinderella story buried within Jeremy Scott’s rise from a poor Missouri farm boy to an elite high fashion designer, but most of the film’s content is spent exploring an industry and couture lifestyle that average people can barely comprehend. What distinguishes a high fashion designer’s madcap apparel resembling a giant bag of chips from one stitched together in the living room of crazy Carol down the street? Jeremy Scott knows, but the rest of us don’t and still won’t after watching this doc. But that isn't really the film's goal.
The takeaway of this documentary isn’t fashion understanding; it’s simply understanding. The film isn’t here to justify Jeremy Scott’s wacky wardrobe creations in the eye of the typical American. It’s not to show aspiring fashion designers how to make their mark on the industry. It’s not to provide a behind-the-scenes look at Jeremy's unique part of the high fashion world (although it does this in earnest). The lasting impact of the film is bigger than all that. It's a life lesson about being true to yourself, your identity, your beliefs, and your dreams. “The People’s Designer” is an aptly-attributed subtitle for Scott. Made fun of throughout his childhood for being different and unorthodox, he now uses those same unconventional ideas to dress the likes of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and A$AP Rocky. He never knew how to be anyone but himself and conveys the message that nobody should have to.
Now in his 40s, Scott is the definition of self-identity. He’s acutely aware of who he is, who he has always been, and who he will always be. And for someone with such outlandishly imaginative design skills, he’s impressively soft-spoken and calm. The man has a huge personality but projects it through his work more than his mouth.
NYMag’s The Cut says, “He's at ease deplaning in Milan in tie-dye sweats, a Bart Simpson sweatshirt, a leopard-print robe, and a SpongeBob SquarePants bag. He's serene hanging out with his mom, dad, and sister in his Missouri hometown, but equally in his element at Fashion Week with his host of celebrity friends, who make frequent cameos in the film to praise his output.”
That’s the heart of this doc: Chanel t-shirts, denim overalls, and cut-offs. Beyond the flashy winged shoes and the French runway sessions, there’s a designer so comfortable with himself that he’s equally just as happy at home in Missouri as he is backstage dressing Katy Perry for the Super Bowl halftime show. He mentions he is not a fan of auditioning for jobs or having to convince people they should work with him. He wants his creativity and originality to speak for itself. If you like what he does, that’s awesome. If you don’t, that’s fine, too. He just wants to connect with people who are like him: the outcasts who are criticized for being different. His designs express the message that it’s okay to be who and what you want to be.
Who says leopard print, stripes, suspenders, and SpongeBob can’t be in the same high fashion outfit? Probably lots of people -- but not Jeremy Scott.