The body politic of fashion is showing its grit in social media.
Scarce are designers in the exclusive world of fashion who possess the acumen, aesthetics and assurance to challenge the industry’s myopic tenets of beauty by championing body diversity and inclusion.
Enter American designer Christian Siriano, refreshing fashion outlier who unwittingly, perhaps, has prompted a debate in social media that challenges a largely taboo social issue—female image and self-confidence. Brands like Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, now in its 16th year, have challenged body stereotyping in pioneering global campaigns.
Owing to his body positivity mantra, New York designer Christian Siriano—known for his couture fantasy gowns and as a successful Project Runway winner—is fast becoming somewhat of a standard bearer for diverse body and age-defying couture fashion, and in the process, shunning an industry’s staid and stultifying notions of female beauty.
Siriano has also been diversifying the Red Carpet, attracting women of all sizes, statures, age and race, including celebrities Lady Gaga, Heidi Klum, Christina Hendricks, Zendaya and Oprah.
As the brand prospers at a faster pace than competitors, Siriano continues to experiment, with new collaborations. Among his most recent, a capsule collection for plus-size Lane Bryant and a bridal collection for Kleinfeld.
In an industry ruled by exclusivity where body image is mercilessly scrutinized, body shaming has escalated to a malevolent sport in social media. Exclusivity, as promulgated by the industry, perpetuates stereotypical beauty values, whose unrealistic and unattainable ideals further feed the vicious cycle of debased female self-esteem.
To his credit, Siriano has recently enjoyed a well-deserved embrace of social media love. He is arguably in the vanguard of redefining femininity and feminism in fashion aesthetics, countervailing industry doctrines of exclusivity.
“My mission now is what we’re calling that ‘everywoman,’” says Soriano. “You can be any size, any age, and wear something from our collection, and that’s so important to me.”
Recently, bucking industry practices and in the spirit of inclusivity, Siriano stepped in with a Twitter hand wave emoticon to rescue Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones from the dearth of offers from other designers to dress her for the premiere. Debunking the specious arguments that designers need months to fashion a gown, Siriano, with fewer resources than many designers, customized a gown for Jones in just over a week.
The Twitter response was effusive, analyzed in the NetBase cloud below.