Christian Siriano on the Lack of Inclusivity and Diversity in Fashion, and How He's Changing That

Christian Siriano - September 13, 2016
Photo: Matthew Eisman/Getty

New York Fashion Week has wrapped and while I loved seeing the stars in the front row or next season's trends, one of the biggest highlights was checking out Christian Siriano's spring 2017 runway show and then chatting with the man himself at a meet-and-greet for the launch of his latest capsule collection with plus-size mega retailer, Lane Bryant. The main takeaway from our conversation? Learning how the fashion powerhouse is embracing all women beyond the runway.

But let's start with his fantastic show, which featured women of all shapes—a big coup for the runway. "When we did the casting," Siriano says, "I just told the casting director I wanted to see as many girls as possible, from all different cultures and backgrounds, all mixed together. It was so much fun." Siriano is one of the designers who is pushing for plus-size fashion to be inclusive, and he's doing that with his partnership with Lane Bryant. "What Lane Bryant is doing in this world is changing the landscape," he says. "If anybody can help us with what's happening, it's them."

But the question is how fashion can become diverse and inclusive. Who starts the conversation? The editors? The designers? The media? "It's everything. Everyone has to be on board. That's why I'm throwing it in your face a little bit," he says. "It will take time, but I think it's changing—slowly but surely. Obviously, some of the models right now are changing it, I know Ashley Graham is having a huge impact on people's lives and that's really exciting to see. And it will take some other stronger voices other than me. There are some other people who are more powerful than me in the fashion industry that can really help this stick."

Overall, Siriano's goal is to make all women, from the consumer to the celebrity, to feel good about themselves. Women should know "it's all about confidence. You have to feel great in your clothes and you have to find the right fit for you. If an A-line is your shape, go for it. If you like something sexy, a cut-out, or whatever it is, own it. It's the way to go."

As we draw the interview to a close, I mention Leslie Jones and Siriano lights up. "She's so fabulous I love her so much. I'm going to see her tomorrow. It was awesome [dressing her for the Ghostbusters premiere], it was such a great moment. She has stood up to a lot these last few weeks and months. She's an amazing woman."

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