Marylander and fab fashionista Christian Siriano rocked the Pink Jams runway, gave back, and had this to say about Washington’s evolving fashion scene.
By Brittni Guevara
Christian Siriano recently visited the DC area to help rock the runway… as usual!
Siriano partnered with Pink Jams to present his new Spring 2012 couture collection and honor the work of local emerging fashion designers at the Pink Rocks The Runway fundraising event. Pink Jams is a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading awareness about early detection of breast cancer for both men and women under 40. The Pink Rocks The Runway event combines couture fashion and live rock music to celebrate the women under 40 who have battled the disease.
The models of the night were all young breast cancer survivors who fiercely worked their stuff in front of hundreds of supporters, including Siriano.
Although he has never been personally affected with the disease, Siriano was honored to be a part of such a great awareness fund. He feels that raising awareness for the detection and ultimate prevention of breast cancer is vital.
“Unfortunately now, everyone in my life all have this someone in their life who’s affected by this disease,” said Siriano. “It’s important to keep raising awareness and that’s the goal for [Pink Rocks The Runway].”
Siriano chatted with us about Pink Jams, his collection, what inspires his fashions (which includes the styles and trends he see you wearing!) and more. Check out our exclusive interview with him:
WL: What made you want to participate in the Pink Rocks The Runway fundraising event?
Siriano: What’s great about this event is the whole idea “Pink Rocks The Runway” is what it’s really about: bringing fashion and art culture from runway fashion to support a great cause. And I think “why not support breast cancer research?” There’ll be survivors on the runway with local designers and then me showing my collection, and I think it’s the best of both worlds.
WL: You were raised in Annapolis, went to school in Baltimore. Is there any part of DC life that inspired any of your collections, be in the couture one, the Spegiel collection, or any other project?
Siriano: Nothing too specific. I always say that I like to be inspired by cities that I’ve never been to, which makes it like a fantasy or a dream of what they’d be like. But what’s great about DC is it is a beautiful city. It’s kind of like our Paris in a way, like nostalgic which I think is amazing. I think what’s also nice is it’s great to travel so every city, you get a different type of costumer and see what she’s buying, so I think what will be interesting [at Pink Rocks The Runway] is to see what women are gravitating towards. That’s how I do my research; I love to see what they like, what they don’t like.
WL: Were there any local designers, local stores of even local fashionistas that helped you get interested in design?
Siriano: Probably growing up in Annapolis, even though it is kind of a “yuck” town, it was nice that I felt like there were a few friends and family that I felt like were interesting in how they dressed. Even my sister, just growing up, she was very eccentric and wore really interesting things. I think they would be the most inspiring, but also everyday, any day, I could meet someone and their style could be interesting to me.
WL: It’s been about three years since your win on Project Runway, and you still hold the title of the youngest winner. What type of pressure do you feel to represent that title, especially in an industry with designers who are twice your age?
Siriano: I don’t feel any pressure to hold my title with Runway because for me, I’m moving on. So if someone 12 years old wins, great for them! My thing is really that being a young designer in the business industry is a struggle. But what’s great is that there are a lot of young, new designers that are becoming the forefront because I think that’s what’s exciting about fashion. I always say it’s great when I walk into a Neiman Marcus and I’m hanging next to Oscar and Monique, and it feels great. We’re hanging there and we’re selling, so that’s awesome.
WL: Congratulations on being named one of Cain’s 40 Entrepreneurs under 40 last year. What advice would you give to other twenty-somethings who want to start their own business?
Siriano: I think the biggest thing is is that you really have to love what you’re doing, and I think that if you don’t love what you’re doing, you should really keep working and finding something else. That was my biggest thing; I knew what I loved and what I really was into quite young and I’m just sticking with it and working really hard to make it move forward. I was actually in DC not too long ago when we were at the White House with other young entrepreneurs and I remember there was a girl who started this cupcake business, which is a growing and booming business. And she was really funny because she was like ‘I just really love cupcakes,’ and I was like well, that’s kind of interesting because it was her whole passion. She was so interesting and knew all these cool things about cupcakes which I thought was cool. So, I think that’s the best way. It’s almost like you have to be obsessed with it, in a way, to really do it. Trust me, there are plenty of days when I hate clothes so much, but you have to love it deep down.
WL: You’ve mastered the couture, the affordable, almost every type of design. What’s up next for Christian Siriano?
Siriano: Nothing too new. We’re really just focusing now on making everything move forward, like with the shoes and Payless, and that expanded which is exciting. With my collection, it’s really just about traveling and doing things like [Pink Rocks The Runway], showing in other cities, or doing trunk shows and events in other cities. I was just in Boston, I’ll be in Alabama on Tuesday, so I love to do that, to really get to see how people are shopping. That’s my goal for the next few months and then we’ll see what happens next year.
To check out Siriano’s couture collection, click here.