On Wednesday we wrote a post saying that we didn’t quite understand why designer Christian Siriano would go to the trouble of showing his collection for a second time during Nashville Fashion Week. It made some of our readers — and a few people who aren’t usually Styleite readers — upset, and understandably so. The response to this post is bigger than anything we’ve seen since John Galliano said “I love Hitler.” Siriano himself has even weighed in at this point, explaining his decision to haul his gowns 902 miles south from the Big Apple to Music City. And while we’re sorry to have offended so many of you, we think what we were trying to say might have been obfuscated by what you expected us to say.
But none of that is nearly as important as what Siriano himself said via Twitter, which we’ve included below in full:
About Nashville, I have something I’m confused about. I showed this season at New York Fashion Week, as always. I am also showing some of my collection in Nashville this weekend alongside local talent and Betsey Johnson because it’s a fun way for me to bring my art to a new market that really wants to see it. Some writers seem to look down on this, but I don’t understand what the problem is? My business is growing rapidly and I am doing everything I can to help that happen. What’s wrong with everyone having the chance to see fashion? Is nobody else allowed to have a look except people in New York? I do trunk shows around the country and around the world, as do most designers… and many designers often have fashion shows at or near trunk shows because they help people see the clothes and want to wear them. I am having a trunk show in Nashville this weekend as well. It’s going to be fun and good for my business, and I’m grateful that the people of Nashville want to have me!
We have no doubt that people everywhere would want to have Siriano show during their fashion week, and as large a center of wealth and musical culture as Nashville is, on the surface it makes sense for him to go there. But the reason we questioned the decision was because we don’t know how much of a return Siriano is going to get on his investment by showing in Nashville. That’s not because we think the city is some kind of hick town that doesn’t deserve his presence. In all honesty, that was the furthest thought from our mind. (And the original post’s author Julia Rubin actually wrote “we’re not hating on Nashville,” because we weren’t hating on Nashville. Hating on entire metropolitan areas just isn’t our style.)
It’s because fashion shows are such astronomically expensive productions, and we didn’t know if or when he’d recoup the money from such a show — especially when he’s not showing anything different than what he put out in NYC in February.
(Author’s note: I asked the same question in 2008 when I was a student at the University of South Carolina. Siriano turned up with a truckload of dresses from Project Runway at Coplon‘s, a ritzy women’s store in Columbia, SC, and did a show for the university’s theater department. It was a similar “SO COOL! But like, was there a cost/benefit analysis involved somewhere in this decision?” kind of moment. But I digress.)
But now that we know that Nashville Fashion Week covers all the production costs with the support of sponsors, and that Siriano is hosting a trunk show (where his clothes will no doubt sell like hotcakes), the decision to show there seems like a complete no-brainer. And at the end of the day, the more people who get to take part in this wonderful industry, the better.