Many people know that Christian Siriano came to most people's attention first as a "Project Runway" contestant. I confess he wasn't my favorite that season, but I often like the second or fourth place contestant best. What was clear was that Siriano already had a clear vision, and an understanding of the larger business. As a sidenote, I will say, there is often a sense that many of the contestants who go work for other lines, or go back home and set up an etsy shop have not made it, or not been as successful, and I think some of that is that in much the way of many pursuits, probably way more people would like Siriano name recognition and money than want to work like that. When you consider how few - relatively speaking - "Project Runway" contestants have worked in a larger fashion business, versus, sewing stuff in their living room, it's a little less surprising. But I digress.
The hing that fascinates me the most about all of this, is that in Siriano's season, the challenge he did the worst with, was one of their "real" people challenges. Now, if you look at the list of challenges, it wasn't the first time the designers worked with a non-model. And teenagers can be challenges, and one could certainly argue that prom is different. But Christian ended up in the bottom for creating something that neither he nor his model liked and it became one of those where the judges more believed that he had had an off day than the designer who got sent home, but it was close.
And now Siriano is known for designing inclusively* in his line. For being the designer who dresses the celebrities who can't get an outfit for an award ceremony. And I am aware that basing a theory of someone's career based on a highly edited hour of TV is not a great idea, but I do think that's there's something interesting going on, that the moment where he was most in danger was part of design for just this person challenge, and now that is part of what he is most known for.
*Interestingly he mentions in that interview that "Project Runway" isn't necessarily the best choice for your career.