3 Questions for Christian Siriano

For Christian Siriano, a partnership with Payless ShoeSource has done wonders to widen his consumer base.

The designer bolstered his relationship with the retailer this past year by launching his second line at Payless (while the first collection was called Christian Siriano for Payless Gold, the new line is simply Christian Siriano), and the company increased distribution to more locations.

“I have a lot fans who are young and aspiring fashion designers, but I also have a range from the moms who are 65 years old [to their] daughters who are 18,” he said. “I really have to have something for every woman, and that’s what I wanted [to do through Payless].”

Here, the “Project Runway” victor talks about his relationship with Payless and shares some insight into future projects.

1. Why did you think that extending your partnership with Payless was the right move for your brand?
CS: What’s great about the Payless team is that their shoes are really for every woman. I wanted a mother to walk into a Payless and be like, “That’s a cool flat that I can wear to work.” Or a cool girl to walk in and say, “That’s a cool pump I can wear to a party tonight.” That’s really the whole idea of what we wanted to do when we talked about expanding it to be bigger and better. 

2. Aside from footwear, you’ve also collaborated with a number of other brands. Are there any partnerships you’re hoping to pursue next?
CS: I’ve done a lot of different things, but I haven’t really done a diffusion line of clothing. I did a small collection with Spiegel, which was nice, but nothing like Payless. This deal was longer term. I honestly think that why Payless works is because we have a returning customer. We’ve been doing it for three years now, and it wasn’t a wham-bam, in-and-out collection. Sometimes those don’t work. If I was to do another [partnership], I would want it to be a real collection that’s in the store for a long time, because that’s how women shop.

3. Have you given any thought to returning to reality television?
CS: Sometimes I do. It really just depends on the right moment and the right situation. TV is tough because a lot of people think it’s the right way to promote a brand and some people don’t. I’m not sure yet. But I’ve been working really hard to build my brand and my business, so I’m going to keep working on that right now and see what happens.

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