Berkeley Today Stories
Christian Siriano Discusses Fashion Career at Berkeley College Event
“If you don’t play with things you’re curious about, you won’t see the bigger picture.”
Renowned fashion designer and entrepreneur Christian Siriano offered these and other words of advice and inspiration to an audience of Berkeley College students, faculty, and prospective high school students. More than 150 people crowded into the intimate setting of Club 101 in New York City for this special event, which was presented by Berkeley College on July 27, 2016.
Over the course of two hours, Christian Siriano shared many of his life experiences, from going off to school in a foreign country to breaking into the fashion world, including the recent honor of dressing First Lady Michelle Obama. “I’m sure the stylist who works with Michelle Obama was totally over me by the end of it because I was emailing her every day,” Mr. Siriano told the audience. “It was like I was back to square one when I was working with her.”
Lessons Learned and Shared
Among the lessons Mr. Siriano imparted on the audience were the importance of persistence, and curiosity, appreciation for teachers and mentors, and the value of internships in developing a successful career.
After the talk, students had the opportunity to participate in a lively Q&A session, where Mr. Siriano fielded questions about the fashion industry, internships, and celebrity. Mr. Siriano also discussed how his clothing is intended to make everyone look and feel stylish, the challenges he’s experienced running his own business, and what it’s like to partner with retail chains such as Lane Bryant.
"It was an incredible opportunity to meet Christian Siriano,” said Casey O’Connell, Content Coordinator at Berkeley College. “As a young designer with great insight, his advice for Berkeley College students was invaluable. He was able to offer genuine encouragement for students wanting to get involved in the fashion industry, reminding them to always be confident in their own skin. His experience offers a real-world perspective that can enlighten students who are preparing for their own future careers in fashion."
Making His Mark
Mr. Siriano launched his eponymous collection in 2008 following his studies in London under Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. The Christian Siriano Collection is now shown each season at New York Fashion Week and presented in New York and Paris to retailers. In 2012, the first flagship Christian Siriano store opened on Elizabeth Street in New York City. He was also inducted as a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in 2013.
Christian Siriano’s advice to students at the event has already generated some media buzz. Yahoo! Style and Mic.com published articles featuring some memorable portions of the conversation with the designer. A video recap of this exciting event featuring Christian Siriano will be coming soon.
This is not the first time Berkeley College students have had the opportunity to meet prominent industry professionals. With events like Berkeley College’s National Security Forum, Evenings of Wine and Design, Women’s Entrepreneurship Panel and many more, Berkeley College students benefit from exposure to high-profile players in a wide range of industries.