Christian Siriano: Project Runway winner to Payless Shoe Source designer


Oh, how the fierce have fallen. From interning at Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen to winning the most well known fashion design challenge TV show, Project Runway, it seemed things would only keep going up and up for the “ferosh” designer Christian Siriano. He’s been fairly successful at milking the celebrity garnered from the win, but who would have thought one of his first designing gigs would be with Payless ShoeSource.

Payless ShoeSource announced today that it has signed a deal with fashion designer Christian Siriano.

The “Project Runway” winner’s new line will be unveiled during a runway show at New York Fashion Week in February, and then sold exclusively at Payless stores and Payless.com in fall ’09.

“Christian is among the next great American fashion designers, and we are thrilled to continue to expand the Payless Designer Collections and to add Christian as our newest designer partner,” said LuAnn Via, president of Payless ShoeSource.

Christian Siriano for Payless will be the designer’s first footwear and handbag collection.

[From Mom Logic]

Something tells me Tim Gunn wouldn’t be impressed. I think the Project Runway people have higher hopes for their winners than a line of shoes and bags at the Walmart of shoes. I’m not saying I haven’t bought shoes there, I get summer slides there all the time. But I never pay more than $10 for them and they never last longer than the season.

How do you go from Vivienne Westwood to Payless? I expected more of Christian. Not extraordinary things, but something that didn’t say stripmall, located between Subway and The Dollar Tree. A 6″ tuna sandwich, a $1 movie-size box of Dots, and a Siriano handbag and pumps?

Next up, Buy One Get One on Sirianos!

Christian Siriano is shown on 11/23/08 at the American Music Awards and on 10/20/08 at a Burberry party. Credit: Bauergriffin. He is also shown dressed as Cruella Deville at Heidi Klum’s Halloween party on 10/31/08. Credit: WENN

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30 Responses to “Christian Siriano: Project Runway winner to Payless Shoe Source designer”

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  1. Emily says:

    Very rarely do the Project Runway winners make it big. I remember seeing an article about people winning talent competitions and their lives after winning. The guy who won the first season of PR was living in a small apartment, still struggling to make ends meet. The 100,000 dollars they receive or however much it is apparently doesn’t do very much to launch them in the world of fashion. And with the economy these days, are Americans really willing to fork over so much money for haute couture? I’d rather shop at Payless to be honest.

  2. Baholicious says:

    Well, I’m sure he’s doing better than he would have just being fresh out of fashion design school pounding the streets with his portfolio. Payless isn’t small potatoes…it’s a North America-wide banner. I don’t know about Europe. I do admit though, he looks more like a Fluevog man to me.

  3. Megan says:

    Yeah it’s a shame, these people bask in the glory of winning for a few months, but then end up back working in grocery stores. People only watch Project Runway because it’s a fun show, not because they’re necessarily going to buy all the winner’s designs.

  4. elisha says:

    a.) The show still upped his name recognition compared to if he hadn’t done it. No matter how low he goes, he’s still in a better position than before he won the show.

    b.) You know he’s still cashing in, no matter which company he does so with. Sometimes it is indeed all about the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    c.) High-fashion divas the Olsen twins made their first foray into selling their own clothing line at WAL-MART. Some of Izaac Mizrahi’s best stuff is sold at Target.

    Conclusion: is it really a downgrade for him, or is it an upgrade for Pay-Less?

  5. KittyKate says:

    Emily, I know that Jay (the winner of Season 1 of PR… and personal favourite of mine) refused the $100000 seed money at the end of the show. As well as the internship with Banana Republic.
    And I agree with the others, Payless is by no means small stuff. Plus, he’ll get to be in all the commercials and You know Christian will effin love that 8)

  6. Kaiser says:

    Yeah, I agree Elisha. Christian can make fabulous, cheap shoes and bags for Payless and still have fashion cred, esp. in these troubled economic times.

    I want a Payless Siriano “Tranny Hot Mess Ferosh” handbag. :P

  7. DLR in Canada says:

    that’s not exactly a good thing. i’ve seen the shoes at payless and they’re downright cheap. falling apart after just a few wears. no wonder star jones left her spokesperson role after just a couple commercials.

  8. Codzilla says:

    I love Payless. And is it so terrible that he’s designing shoes that the masses can actually afford?

  9. Rio says:

    Patricia Field has a line at Payless, and I second the props for the Isaac Mizrahi Target line– I buy most of my clothes from that particular line, and love them. I shop at Payless all the time. They’re one of the only stores that carry cute shoes in my honkin’ huge size that are actually affordable and COMFORTABLE. I once walked from Union Square to Chelsea in a pair of Payless spike heels with no problems– and received compliments on them all night!

  10. Anna says:

    Sounds to me like he’s doing more of an H&M thing, where they get designers to design a line for them – like currently Comme des Garcons or in the past, Victor & Rolf or Stella McCartney.

    Christian, although being the most conceited and annoying Project Runway winner so far, has been the most successful one, at least as far as I know. He is probably getting a lot of money for doing this.

  11. Dingles says:

    I have to jump to his defense here. The guy is my age, and I don’t care how many nice internships he has under his belt or what contest he won- he’s still a guy in his early twenties with limited experience, and so he’s going to have to pay some dues.

    Give the guy a break. He’s what, 22/23 and is now a designer for a major company, even if it isn’t the most glamorous brand name. I’m sure he’s going to be well-compensated and will use it as a stepping stone for better things. I’m sure whatever he designs will be super fierce.

  12. Nikole says:

    Wow, he’s such a loser/jerk for deciding to make an affordable line!

  13. neelyo says:

    There’s no shame at all in designing for Payless and I’m sure he’s getting paid well. But he was an annoying SNOBBY little bitch on the show so I have to laugh a little at the idea of him shilling for Payless.

    And there shoes are shoddily made, no matter what the design.

  14. prissa says:

    LOTS of ppl shop at Payless. And really, if it pays the bills, what diff does it make? He has a pretty eye color!

  15. Christina says:

    actually, people make a ton of money selling at these bargain well known department stores… martha stewart for kmart, mizhrahi and mossimo for target, kimora for jc penny… etc etc… that’s where most of the money is…

    on the flip side though, i think payless is probably by far the most tacky of the chains i listed… buying shoes at target or sears would be many steps above payless… their shoes are CHEAP… i can usually get a decent pair of shoes from target or something but i’ve given up on payless… but maybe they are trying to revamp their image…

  16. McKenna says:

    “How the fierce have fallen”?…are you serious? Trust me, he wouldn’t be doing this if it didn’t make him pooploads of money. A lot of top designers have more affordable lines at Target and other low-end retail stores (Isaac Mizrahi, Behnaz Sarafpour, Vera Wang). And I doubt this is the only thing he’s got going right now. He has a line on Bluefly that’s pretty expensive and I’m sure he’s doing other things. I don’t buy stuff from Payless but that’s just a personal preferance. I would never make fun of someone for attempting to make affordable fashion available to the masses and people like me who are not wealthy. Poor form, Ceilidh.

  17. Ron says:

    This is about name recognition. I have worked with Payless on many campaigns. They are GREAT to work with, they will give him a launch pad. They are a worldwide chain. Who outside of the US has any idea who he is. Remember Project Runway averages about 8 million viewers. There are 300,000,000 people in this country and alot of them don’t know who he is in any form. This will help with that and move him forward. How many of you knew who Mizrahi was before Target, he was known to fashionista’s but not to the general population. And now he is a recognizable name and is moving his line to Liz Claiborne and will be sold in other stores. This was a great move for Christian.

  18. Holly says:

    I think this is a brilliant accident for his career. I dont know if he wanted to do Payless, but can you think of a better time in history to have done so? And its still better than nothing. Hell, its WAY better than what happens to Tyra’s ANTM winners whom you never hear from again after the season finale!

  19. Thumbelina says:

    I think this is a smart move for him. Success, fame, and wealth don’t come suddenly. You work your way up.

  20. Lore says:

    Same difference as representing “Maybelline” vs. “Estee Lauder”. “Payless” is a mass brand. Different priorities,no?
    In the current economic climate it is way more chic to design for the masses than for the elite

  21. Cinderella says:

    Payless is certainly not exclusive, but who wouldn’t represent a company that has over 2 billion in annual sales. You know he’s getting paid in a big way.

    Good for him. He’ll be very rich if he plays his cards right.

  22. Trillion says:

    In the episode where Tim Gunn visited the final designers in their homes, it was evident that Christian didn’t come from riches. He understands how much it can cost to look good.

  23. Kinkkerbelle says:

    Hmm, a designer actually working in his chosen profession for nationwide shoe store that is a household name. O, the humanity!

  24. Nel says:

    Patricia Field, Alice + Olivia and Lela Rose all design for payless. It’s good that they are designing for people who can not afford to buy shoes that cost in the hundreds, and Payless has been upping their quality.
    I really have to defend them because i work at one to help put myself through school.
    Ceilidh, thanks for alienating the people who have to shop at Payless and the Dollar Tree.

  25. aleach says:

    and this is a bad thing becase….?
    hes smart, and a great designer. god forbid he make something that us “regular folk” can afford. :roll:
    hes getting paid, hes famous, and he is respected, so whats wrong with that??
    i cant wait to see what he comes up with!

  26. CeeJay says:

    My daughter is a fashion designer in the true sense of the word. She sketches, knows her textiles, makes her samples and creates the final product. One of her biggest ilks are “celebrities” who sell their names to be on products they’ve had no part in creating. At least Christian is a true designer, and a damned good one at that. This is a fast way for him to make some quick bucks while he continues to do what he does best….create high fashion. He’s probably had little to do with the actual end product.

  27. lisa says:

    Actually, since Tim Gunn believes that fashion is for everyone, and not just for people who drip with condescension, he’d probably approve of the move. Especially since the money Christian will get from Payless will no doubt fund his next fashion line. It’s called business sense, look into it.

  28. Ally says:

    I gotta agree that following in the lines of Patricial Field and Alice+Olivia is no humiliation. Now will the big endorsement bucks be that will allow him to go on to other projects.

    On the contrary I think Jay (season 1) and Daniel V. (season whatever) were fools to reject the money/internship and job offer from Michael Kors, respectively. I just saw Daniel V. featuring an amateurish-looking collection in some craft-type magazine.

    I think the mark of a successful person is not missing opportunities. Experience like Banana Republic and Michael Kors is invaluable in terms of practical education in the business and in making connections, which are crucially important in fashion. Siriano is wise to take golden opportunities when they present themselves.

    Related anecdote in terms of product endorsements and widening your name recogntion: When I was a little kid in Europe I had heard of Chanel and Dior and YSL, but the first time I saw the name Oscar de la Renta it was on a special issue Barbie he designed, and then I thought it was a made up Barbie designer name!

  29. Paola says:

    fallen????
    It’s a bad thing he want to do something more accessible for his fans ??
    I dont think is a bad thing He is still a fashion designer. And he is working on his next fashion week on September so what’s the problem ??

  30. shoppingmouse says:

    I think this is a savvy move on Christians part and a huge plus for Payless. I have shopped Payless in the past and have never had any problems with their shoes. I found them very comfortable, stylish and got compliments on my dress shoes all the time.

    I live in CA and can testify that celebrities don’t always shop at “trendy upscale” stores like the media will have all believe. They actually favor the Wal-marts, Targets and yes-I have seen them in Payless.