Christian Siriano and The Democratization of Design
While in Detroit for the Ford's Go Further Trend Conference, I had the chance to listen to the fierce and fabulous Christian Siriano share his thoughts on social media and design. The winner of Season Four of Project Runway, who experience a stratospheric rise from Alexander McQueen intern and struggling designer to an overnight sensation, discussed how he capitalized on his unique experience and moved even more forward in the world of fashion. The genius of Siriano is that even though he designs for Neiman Marcus and annually for New York's Fashion Week, he has his pulse on what his fans, and what customers want through his 300,000-plus Twitter followers and other observers on Instagram and Facebook. Fans as far away as Brazil and Asia can watch Siriano's work instantly, offer their critiques, and gain insight into the design process. It is that access to design is what is so important at the most highest level. Siriano may not be face of sustainability--he has a line at Payless Shoes after all--but the point is access. So much of what will make a better and hopefully, greener, world will lie in technology and of course, design. With Siriano's fans and followers interested in the process as much as his products' final looks, the seamless view of Siriano's creativity and craftsmanship opens the door to millions who do not have access to the schools and tools to which the most elite designers have access. In this age where such companies as Nike are going open source and sharing their technologies, the openness with which Siriano shares his design point of view gives us many lessons. The age of working in silos is over, as companies such as Ford Motor are finding that they wear many hats--in Ford’s case, they are now not only a Detroit automaker, but a lifestyle and technology company. The tiny Siriano, to that end, will prove to be even more fierce than when he left his competitors, from Rami Kashou to Sweet P, far behind in a pile of fabric scraps. Share your thoughts with Leon Kaye on Twitter. Photo courtesy Leon Kaye.