Christian Siriano sent thrifted garments down the New York Fashion Week runway Thursday, showing that worn wares can make fashionable fodder for next’s season styles.
The New York designer and breakout “Project Runway” star executed the secondhand feat in partnership with ThredUp, which supplied Siriano with dresses from his past collections that found their way into the resale giant’s clutches.
“The ups and downs of this year led me to rethink my next collection as an optimistic vision of how we’ll dress post-pandemic,” Siriano said in a statement to Sourcing Journal. “I chose to put thrifted looks from ThredUp on the runway because I believe reuse will define the future of our industry.”
If nothing else, Siriano is seizing on the trend toward mindful consumption. Indeed, the global Covid-19 crisis has heightened consumer consciousness around fashion’s planetary impact, prompting a growing percentage of shoppers to ditch fast fashion and pay more for sustainable garb.
Fashion weeks, too, have seen an uptick in upcycling and progressive design approaches in recent years, reflecting some designers’ aspirations to maximize style while minimizing waste.
“Ten years ago, we could never have imagined that an iconic industry event like New York Fashion Week would proudly display used clothes alongside new,” said ThredUp vice president of integrated marketing Erin Wallace, referencing what she says is the first time new and repurposed garments have been modeled together in this way.
“We are thrilled to see a barrier-breaking designer like Christian use his runway to illustrate the importance of reuse,” she added. “This paves the way for more designers to embrace their past designs and promote a more sustainable future for fashion.”
Three gently worn items were on the receiving end of Siriano’s designer touch. In addition to applying black bands to the sleeves and hem of a pink silk dress and reviving a coat with “flair and fringe,” a mesh frock also got a second look from the women’s wear wunderkind.
The maverick move is very much in keeping with Siriano’s singular trajectory in fashion, which has seen his eponymous luxury brand embrace plus-size consumers before size inclusivity became an industry buzzword. He also led fashion into the face-mask business last year as the Covid-19 crisis consumed the U.S.
And the runway debut arrives as the designer and fashion resale firm unveiled their “thrift logo,” which they hope will further elevate the appeal of purchasing pre-owned.
“I hope my collection inspires other designers to create garments that can be worn again and again,” Siriano said.
The designer says his full F/W 21-22 collection, where bold pinks and neon greens punctuated blacks and neutrals, was “inspired by this idea of a psychedelic alternate reality.”
“This collection is a reflection of what I think fashion would be in this fantasy world, and how my customers would decide to dress,” he said. “I envisioned hidden parties and cocktail hours in the mountains, with people wrapped in cashmere wool coats and vibrant silky evening dresses. The unbelievable sunset overlooking vast landscapes inspired a sun drenched pink and orange color palette, balanced with snow ivory creams and rich chocolate browns. I hope this collection shows that fashion remains a powerful dreamlike world that can be actual reality if we let it happen, despite the circumstances.”