How Christian Siriano defied industry conventions

While most used the early days of the pandemic to take a little time, Christian Siriano and his team used their talents to create masks for frontline workers in New York City, resulting in 2 million covers. faces. Months later, he defied industry conventions and jumped the digital route for a socially aloof in-person fashion show in the backyard of his Connecticut home. We call this commitment to your profession! The beloved designer explains on a daily basis why he has gone less to fashion shows and what to expect.

You wanted Ashley graham be on our cover with you. How did you first meet her?
I met her because I was doing a collaboration with Lane Bryant. I was doing my first fashion show at the United Nations, and she was the face of Lane Bryant at the time and I asked her to be in the show with me. We hit it off and became very close as friends as we went through the business. She became Ashley Graham. We had a lot of fun together.

At the start of the pandemic, you were one of the first designers to create face masks for frontline workers. You tweeted New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that your team could help.
I have always been reactionary, and I know that is a good thing and a bad thing. At this point when I tweeted to the governor, I didn’t think anyone would respond. When they responded, I didn’t want to disappoint them. I felt I had an obligation to stick to my end of the bargain. It was almost a test to see if we could really do it. Can we turn it into a mask factory? It was really good. It was wild.

Christian Siriano and Ashley Graham (Hannah Turner-Harts)

Were you afraid to walk into your studio when everyone was locked up at home?
Yes. It was intense. We went through a lot of problems. Half the staff did not want to enter. Logistics was difficult. How do you get boxes? How can we have lunch every day for our team? Nothing was open. The simple things were the hardest thing. We had a catering company that came to deliver everyday for my staff because we couldn’t have lunch.

They were probably happy for the business! Months later, you did a live performance in your backyard in Connecticut. What made you want to do this?
I was afraid the case was over. I was really scared. Fashion was a bit dead at that time. It’s my creative outlet. At that time, it was September. Didn’t we need a little art and beauty? If I had the right group of people there I knew it could work and be an inspiration to everyone involved.

He received so much media attention. We didn’t invite that many people, so I thought, who would care?
We wanted the photos, but the response has been amazing. It was a good time for people to see something they hadn’t seen in a while.

You are exhibiting your work in Savannah at SCAD this fall.
When the SCAD team reached out, they wanted an exhibition celebrating fashion in a different way. It was to show the younger generation that clothes can be emotional and change the perception of the world. They are not just a frivolous thing. If they’re done in a politically fair way, they can mean something.

Do you feel a little young to do something like this?
Yes! It’s super silly! I actually felt embarrassed at first. I don’t have a 40-year career. They kept saying that we had moments that were more culturally significant than a lot of other brands that have been around for 40 or 50 years, so it was good to be viewed that way.

When is Project Runway coming back?
November. I am really involved this season. I am there everyday. Karlie Kloss was pregnant, so she’s not on it. I took on a role of host / mentor. The designers are amazing. We found people who were desperate to create because they hadn’t done so for so long. Really strong women are waiting for you!

What do you think of the future?
Fortunately, I am feeling a huge increase in business. The boom in the bridal business has been insane. We had a big increase in event outfits. During the downtime, we sold quite a few extravagant clothes. It was almost like the way people buy jewelry. People were spending their money on things that were ambitious.

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