By: Isabella Spadafora
When I think of New York Fashion Week, I imagine the 5’10” and 100 pound beauties strutting the runway in gowns that make our hearts stop. The image of NYFW is lux, chic and, unfortunately, seemingly unattainable to us “average” people. However, Christian Siriano, season one Project Runway winner, has paved the way in the fashion industry for beauty standards that are universally recognizable. Above all, this will change the way clothing is sold.
Siriano was awarded Designer of the Year in 2016 and has been booked for NYFW since 2008. His success allowed him to dress celebrities at the highest caliber. However, Siriano holds so much more power than just dressing famous people.
The fashion industry, with the many wonderful things it gets right, seems to always mess up the representation of its customers. Fashion had been whitewashed for years with size 0 women. Now I believe those women are beautiful, but they are not all there is in the world and they are certainly not the average customer. In his spring/summer 2018 collection presented September 9th, Siriano put a twist on the conventional look and is starting to lead the way for other designers.
His collection consisted of bold colors, dazzling patterns, structured ruffles, and women of all shapes and sizes. His models were of all different races, ethnicities, genders and measurements. Siriano wanted to “celebrate beauty no matter where you come from or what size you are.” His message is powerful, and one to support and admire, but this presentation goes beyond admiration.
By simply sending a plus-sized model or a man in women’s clothes down the runway, Siriano is expressing representation for the clothing market. The fashion industry is consumer based. Everything you see on the runway will become a variation in our local department stores. Clothing brands will be able to transition its marketing and advertising away from the conventional model and toward the ones we can relate to. Siriano has shed the light on the clothing industry and at its core, is changing the way the average consumer will be advertised to.
Following in his footsteps, Anna Sui and Prabal Gurung sent plus-size models out onto the runway. Project Runways season 16 is using models of all sizes in their show as well.
Beauty is not one-size-fits-all. It has taken some time, but the fashion industry is finally opening up the constraints of our beauty standards, and Christian Siriano is one to thank.