Fashion designer Christian Siriano inspires HCC students

Mar 10, 2016

Fashion Designer Christian Siriano

His gowns have graced the red carpet at the Oscars, Golden Globes, and countless runways. His more affordable, “ready to wear” lines are sold at clothing and shoe stores. The talented, versatile, and personable fashion designer Christian Siriano visited the Houston Community College (HCC) Central Campus for a candid conversation with star-struck Fashion Design students and staff.

“To have a designer of his caliber who makes fantastic clothing for women of all ages, and sizes—it’s easy for the students to visualize their careers coming to life,” said Suzette Brimmer, chair, HCC Consumer Arts and Sciences.

Siriano and his creative clothing designs rose to international fame after he won season four of the hit television reality show "Project Runway."

During his visit at HCC, Siriano stressed to students the importance of tailoring their brands based on the customers’ needs. He also told them it’s one thing to be creative, but students need to be savvy when it comes to the “business” of being a fashion designer—from choosing materials to manufacturing their lines.

“I think in this business, you have to love it, love it, love it—be obsessed with it or it’s never happening, because it’s so hard. You can’t just make pretty clothes all day, it’s a real business,” said Siriano.

That valuable advice really resonated with Fashion Design students Annie Chyr and Leon Kincade.

“He gave us great insight about the industry—on the design part as well as business side,” said Chyr. “What he said is true about fashion being the most creative, but the business part is the most difficult part for the students to step into because there is so much competition out there.”

Kincade said, “What I took away from Siriano is that anyone can make it as long as you put yourself out there and take advantage of your surroundings and be humble and learn as much as you can. Anything is possible; just don’t limit yourself to one thing.”

Thanks to Designer Partner Elizabeth Anthony, HCC was privileged to also host Siriano as the guest fashion designer at the 2016 Passion for Fashion Luncheon, which benefits the internationally renowned Fashion and Interior Design programs at HCC. Siriano featured pieces from his 2016 Spring Collection. The event also honored 2016 HCC Design Society Fashion Icon Merele Gail Yarborough, a well-known community philanthropist and Houston style-setter.

“This is a great opportunity for the HCC Fashion Design program to highlight and put their students before everyone in the Houston community who might otherwise not know about them,” said Mary Williams, 1st vice president, HCC Foundation Board of Directors. “Their designs will rival any designer name that I’ve seen.”

Students from the award-winning HCC Interior Design program also showcased their work at the annual luncheon.

“I really think the HCC Interior Design Department is doing an amazing job,” said Kathy Anderson, HCC Interior Design Program advisory board member and owner of Eklektik Interiors. “As a designer in the community, it’s very important for us to promote the next generation of designers — I really believe in what these students are doing.”

To learn more about the award-winning Fashion and Interior Design Programs at the HCC Consumer Arts & Sciences Center of Excellence, visit

2016 Passion for Fashion

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