Even after all these years, preparing for New York Fashion Week hasn’t become any less stressful for Christian Siriano.
“You would think it would get easier, and some things get easier, but some things get harder,” the popular designer and former “Project Runway” winner tells Metro ahead of his return to the show on Sept. 8. “It's quite a bit of pressure, but it's good. It's exciting. It keeps you on your toes.”
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Siriano has been a staple at New York Fashion Week since he debuted his eponymous line there in 2008. He recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Christian Siriano line at February’s installment of the festivities, with a show featuring the likes Ashley Graham, Selma Blair and Danielle Brooks.
As an advocate for fashion inclusivity and a fan-favorite designer among red carpet regulars like Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Leslie Jones, Taylor Swift and so many more, Siriano has become a force in the industry. According to The Cut, his label is projected to be worth $20 million by the end of the year, which isn’t a surprise considering that the 32-year-old revealed over the summer that he tripled his business after adding plus sizes.
Siriano hopes that the rest of the fashion world will join him in embracing a more inclusive mindset, which he believes doesn’t have to come at the cost of fashion’s aspirational side.
"Fashion can still be aspirational, but it can be aspirational as well as being an inclusive thing," he says. "That's what I just try to do. I try to just go with it and do what we think is right."
Ahead, Siriano opens up about New York Fashion Week, the legacy he hopes to leave on the industry and why he finds Cynthia Nixon so inspiring.
Christian Siriano talks New York Fashion Week, Cynthia Nixon
What’s your favorite part about New York Fashion Week?
Christian Siriano: For us and my team, we work on the same collection for so long. It can kind of get stagnant. It's nice to put on this show because you're presenting to the world. It feels good to get it out there.
Do you ever get to be just a fan and check out other designers, or is it all business?
Christian Siriano: No, never [laughs]. There's a few cool parties with magazines and things like that that I try to go to. But other than that, you're really working on your craft. You have to be really in it because you have to make sure it's great.
Where did you draw inspiration from leading into your latest collection?
Christian Siriano: The collection obviously has an inspiration that comes from some place. But, I think what's nice and the reason why I still show in New York, I really show here for the women here, the women of New York. That powerful, important, confident person we really love. It's really nice to still have them. We just opened a beautiful new store here. We like to have the customer involved. We invite the customer to the show. It's a whole thing. I think that's why it's still very exciting for me to do that every season.
You’ve been such an advocate for fashion inclusivity, but there’s still a lot of push back against plus sizes in some parts of the industry. What still needs to be done in order for others to adopt this mindset?
Christian Siriano: You just have to really be on board and get it out of your head that it even is a thing. We kind of don't even think about it. We just like to put all these different types of beautiful people in the show because we think they're great and special and beautiful. We just don't think about it that much. That's what every brand needs to get on board. It doesn't need to be a mission. It doesn't need to be a project. It can just be what it is, because that's how the customer is. She's just coming in your store randomly or wherever she's shopping. That's the biggest goal here, to make it a normal thing. Hopefully we see all these different types of people wearing different types of clothes.
Fashion Week coincides with New York’s primary election on Sept. 13, and you’ve voiced support for Cynthia Nixon. Why do you find her so inspiring?
Christian Siriano: New York City is filled with so many different types of people. We have literally every type of culture and people from all around the world, different countries. I think she's just such an advocate for that, which I think is really amazing. She's a very real New Yorker, which is really nice to see. Obviously she was an actress and all the other things, but people forget, she was born and raised in New York, lived here her whole life. I don't know. She was just very inspiring to me [after] listening to her speak. She's also just so knowledgeable, she knows so much, that I was left very impressed. That, I think for me, is why I definitely support her. And I think it would be just a nice change. Sometimes change can be bad, sometimes change can be really amazing. I think she would be an amazing change, not a scary one.
What kind of legacy do you hope to leave in the world of fashion?
Christian Siriano: If I was out of business tomorrow, I would feel really proud that we could leave behind this idea that we really celebrated women and celebrated this idea of beauty. Women like Michelle Obama probably wouldn't have picked my dress if I wasn't doing that. I think that is very important to think about. And I'm proud that we've been doing it from the beginning, dressing women of different shapes, different sizes and different colors.