Designer Christian Siriano: 10 snippets of advice tailor-made to creators


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When 10,000 dresses showed up in fashion designer Christian Siriano’s living room — 10 times more than intended — he didn’t lose his cool.

“In fashion, you’re literally upfronting all dollars at all times,” Siriano said. “The moment something happens, I react very quickly and make a decision. … I hope young entrepreneurs think that way, because I think it’s pretty much impossible not to.”

With a luxury brand in American fashion after his start on the reality TV show Project Runway in 2007, Siriano is no stranger to acting fast and pivoting quickly. It’s all part of a process of reinvention that defines his industry and his small business journey.

Siriano joined chef Kathy Fang and journalist Lisa Ling to talk about the ways that reinvention leads to success for small businesses. The QuickBooks + Mailchimp Fireside Chat with Christian Siriano and Kathy Fang celebrated Small Business Success Month, and as an entrepreneur in the creative field, Siriano shared advice tailor-made for fellow creators.

1. Reinvent to be relevant

Reinvention is change, and change is a constant for creators and creative entrepreneurs, Siriano said.

“In fashion or any creative field, it’s all about reinvention. We have to be within the moment. What’s happening in the culture? What’s happening in clothes and style? So, we change a lot.”

2. Put the product first

“I decided early on that the product really had to be the most important thing,” Siriano said.

“I really started focusing on what I did the best, which was this world of evening, this world of event dressing. And how could I make it more accessible? So that’s what we started doing. We started doing projects like Rent the Runway and selling at more mass retailers but still eveningwear.”

By recognizing his strong suit, Siriano has been able to work within a creative constraint. It’s helped him to make decisions about how to grow and reinvent his business.

3. Don’t dilute your brand

Comparing your creations to others or listening to the naysayers is a sure way to spread yourself too thin. Before you let it shake your confidence, try this advice from Siriano.

“The biggest thing that I started teaching myself is: You will never be everything to everyone. It’s impossible. It’s kind of how I feel about clothes, and I’m sure when you’re creating candles or products, you’re going to feel that way, but you can never be everything for everybody. But if you’re somebody for someone — and then that someone is the next someone, and that someone turns into the next — then that can be enough.”

4. Trust yourself

Business and financial tips aren’t one-size-fits-all. That’s why Siriano had to trust himself when he decided to take a risk fronting the cash for flashy, spendy investments in his business.

“I figured out pretty early on that our big risks were just our biggest rewards. We were really putting money into really spectacular clothes, spectacular fashion shows, really over-the-top things. We were definitely spending money. We were over budget for sure, but I knew that it would make it a more successful world, so I took that risk pretty early on, and I still do. And usually those are the things that are the most successful, at least in our world.”

5. Continue connecting via social media

As long as brands can interact with their current and future customers on social media, Siriano doesn’t see it becoming any less important for businesses selling products.

“The interaction with the customers on social is still very, very important, and it’ll never go away. At least, I don’t see it going away in the next 5 to 10 years. I just think that’s how consumers are really shopping and figuring out what they love right now, [it’s] on social.”

6. Be a little vulnerable

Social media is also the way that consumers can get to know you and your brand — if you let them get into your personal world.

“It can be scary for a lot of brands. People are really in your life, really in your world. You want to give them something, but it has to be just enough. It’s all about the balance.”

Maybe Siriano was talking about posts like this playful, behind-the-scenes Instagram video in which he helps singer Ava Max get dressed for the 2023 Met Gala.

7. Connect with your fans

“My fans that were following very early on in my career, the connection to them is very, very important,” Siriano said.

Using social media is a way that Siriano creates authentic touchpoints to engage longtime supporters and attract new fans. Those connections, he found, increase conversions.

“That always leads to a transaction with them in some way or another, whether we see it right then and there on social media, or people are clicking and buying and redirecting to your website. It’s also a long-term game…you’re really trying to get people engaged for years to come.”

8. Know your core customer

Not everyone who buys your product will be part of your core customer base. Identify your primary audience so you know how to filter the feedback or reviews that you get from all kinds of customers, Siriano suggested.

“Some will be more challenging than others, some will be great; some you’ll love, some you won’t. It’s important to go into any business knowing there will be all different types of people. We’re all still human here. We’re all still looking for something, but it also is important to still be giving the core customer what they want.”

9. Celebrate the positive

Siriano found that drawing comparisons and dwelling on the negative were sinking his confidence. By giving weight to his accomplishments instead, he felt something completely different: successful.

“I was focusing so much sometimes on the negative things that I wasn’t getting or I wasn’t in … [so] I started focusing on all the amazing, great things that we’ve done. Maybe my dress isn’t on the cover of Vogue, or whatever we weren’t getting, I was taking away that negativity, and I was just thinking about the positive. And thinking enough about the positive, I felt really confident and pretty successful. I hope that’s what a lot of young entrepreneurs are doing: just think about what’s so great happening in your world.”

10. Define success for yourself

Siriano set goals for himself as a fashion designer, and he’s managed to check them off. What success looks like now is, perhaps, more fulfilling.

“It definitely isn’t always about the money or how much we have and what we’re onto next. If I’m able to still basically create whatever I want, whenever I want, then that to me is ultimate success. … And really nothing else matters, in a way, most days. And if you make a little money doing it, even better.”

This article originally appeared on Quickbooks and was syndicated by

Digital clothes have arrived. Here’s what that means

Digital clothes have arrived. Here’s what that means

For those who love fashion but not the price tag, eco-footprint or space they take up, some designers and websites may have a solution: digital clothes. Digital or virtual clothes are digital files of clothes that you buy and “wear” online. Some of these clothes only exist virtually as 3D renderings or files and therefore can only be “worn” online; however, some sites and apps allow you to try on real, physical clothes virtually to help you determine if you want to actually buy them. 

For most brands, you’ll either simply download an app to “wear” or “try on” the clothes virtually or wait for the company to send you Photoshopped photos of you in your new digital clothes. The price range and quality of these digital clothes, as popular YouTuber Safiya Nygaard recently discovered, can vary. And some of the “fake” clothes can have high price tags, such as this digital dress that sold for $9,500. However, other designs, like this digital hat, are only $1. 

We’ve rounded up some of the most popular digital clothing brands to find out just how far the range of digital fashion reaches, both in terms of budget and styles. Whether you’re looking for a sleek Zoom outfit or an Instagram-worthy Met Gala masterpiece, here are some of the latest digital clothes offerings from a variety of popular digital clothing sites and designers. 

Note that costs and availability are accurate as of publication.

This look is a digital jumpsuit designed with biomimicry crystals, and wearers will have crystals and illuminating strings hanging off the jumpsuit and suspended in midair.

Don’t have room for another t-shirt in your closet? DressX has a series of digital ones based on various painters, including this Starry Night-inspired one.

While you can’t buy this one-of-a-kind item anymore, this example shows another use of digital clothes: an expansion of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, a growingly popular way artists and designers are making money in the digital space. In fact, this dress appeared on the cover of Vogue Singapore’s September NFT issue. These NFT, auction-based digital clothes are great for fashion collectors who are also interested in high fashion and unique runway looks.

Don’t have thousands of dollars for a digital dress? The Fabricant has a storefront called FFROP, which are free digital clothes for those who may be interested in building a digital closet but don’t want to commit yet. They have more everyday streetwear looks in this section, such as the pictured Soorty dress, as well as some more eye-catching designs, such as a vest made out of bubbles.

While it’s not free, this digital fur hat is still a steal at just $3.40. It comes in pink, purple and mint.

These denim wings and matching jeans will be sure to catch the eyes of your social media followers! (If that’s too unrealistic for you, this virtual jean hat for just $3.40 may be a better fit.)

  • Cost: $299 

  • Designer: BICA/Tribune Brand

  • Get it here

Tribute Brand shows off their virtual clothing on Instagram, which is where they anticipate you’ll most likely want to post this Photoshopped dress!

Tribute_brand / Instagram

If Tribute Brand’s mermaid pants gave you all the feels, you’ll love this digital find! The full-length mermaid gown is complete with gill-like sleeves and a tail.

Tribute_brand / Instagram

If Tribute Brand’s mermaid pants gave you all the feels, you’ll love this digital find! The full-length mermaid gown is complete with gill-like sleeves and a tail.

This metallic suit can be dressed up for a night “out” (or, well, to make your followers think you went out!) or for a more professional virtual photoshoot.

Unlike many of the more extravagant and expensive digital designs on this list, you can get (or get a photo of you in, we suppose…) this floor-length dress for only $20.

The sneakerheads in your life will go crazy for these unique and over-the-top sneakers. While limited edition sneakers in “real life” can cost hundreds of dollars, this digital pair is only $14.


This article was produced and syndicated by

Featured Image Credit: Christian Siriano by (CC BY-SA).