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In Praise of Gay Designer Christian Siriano

Christian Siriano

For making inclusion fashionable (and designing Michelle Obama's dress), the Project Runway alumnus has made the LGBT community proud.

Christian Siriano deserves his moment in the sun.

The gay fashion designer made headlines this week for creating the cobalt-blue dress Michelle Obama wore while speaking at the Democratic National Convention Monday night. Simple and elegant, it (literally) matched the stage and its speaker's message of unity.

The New York Times, in a recent article about the dress, pointed out how the first lady's choice could not be "happenstance." She had worn another dress by Siriano at the funeral for the officers slain in Dallas, an intentional act that speaks to his ethos as a designer.

The public may best know Siriano as the champion of season 4 of Project Runway. As the youngest winner in the show's history, he was a fashion wunderkind, zipping through challenges with speed and mastery of his craft.

His vocabulary also made an impact. Siriano helped popularize "fierce" for mainstream America. Unfortunately, he also adopted the transphobic catchphrase "hot tranny mess."

However, recent events have shown Siriano to be a designer of inclusion. He designed a stunning red-carpet dress for Leslie Jones, when no one else would for the 6-foot-tall Ghostbusters actress. He also worked with Lane Bryant to stage a plus-size fashion show at the United Nations.

"I just don't think anyone should be excluded from having a beautiful dress," he told The New York Times.

As the Gray Lady noted in the article, Siriano's message is one the fashion industry needs to hear. "Fashion is not known for its embrace of togetherness (more for its exclusion)," wrote Vanessa Friedman. "But Mr. Siriano is."

But in a time of fear and divisiveness, it's a message that those in the political world should also wear on their sleeves. It's one the LGBT community itself should never forget as well.

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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