Christian Siriano Gives Advice to Young LGBTQ+ Designers and Names His Favorite Pride Outfits Ever

The pandemic hasn't slowed Christian Siriano down. The 35-year-old designer was one of the first to convert his NYC studio into a place for creating masks, where he invited his small team of sewers in to support those on the front lines. He also managed to host two fashion shows — one socially distanced in his own backyard — customize red carpet gowns for virtual award season, work with ThredUp on a universal logo for thrifting, and launch his first bridal collection since 2017.

"There are a lot of emotions going on when it comes to Pride this year, and I think everybody's just ready to celebrate the community and our culture."

Now his focus is on Pride Month as he joins Burst in dreaming up a rainbow face mask that comes with a floss kit, for those who still want to feel smart and safe while navigating a reopening world. Proceeds go toward a $25,000 donation to The Trevor Project, an organization that focuses on suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth.

"There are a lot of emotions going on when it comes to Pride this year, and I think everybody's just ready to celebrate the community and our culture," Christian said when we chatted on the phone about his latest endeavor. "This whole idea of me, as a designer, creating something for Pride that people would feel good about and feel fashionable using and carrying is what made this a good partnership." Christian's just as excited as everyone else to get out into the streets, dance, and delight over what everyone's wearing. But, as with most things he does, his focus is just as much on giving back to help ensure an even better, more inclusive future.

Click through to see Christian's Pride collaboration, and more from our interview about his experience as an LGBTQ+ creative in the industry.

Christian's Favorite Pride Celebrity Dressings
Getty | Roy Rochlin

Christian's Favorite Pride Celebrity Dressings

"I dressed Billy Porter for Pride in 2019. We made him this crazy tulle cascading gown. It was so fabulous. He just fluttered through the streets, and it was awesome. Doing Billy's Oscars gown was also a testament to the fact that people in their genders can wear what they want to wear. I dressed Janelle Monáe for the Vanity Fair party, and she wore this red matador suit that was quite masculine, but she made it very sexy. There are always interesting looks during Pride. I'm a fan of what the Pose girls, like Indya Moore and Mj Rodriguez, are wearing out and about. They've been really stylish these last few Prides."

Christian's Advice to Young Queer Designers

"I want any creator, whatever they're making — jewelry, bags, anything — to be obsessed with what they're doing because this is such a hard business. If that's how you feel every day when you wake up, then you are a designer. Levels of success are different for everybody, but no one should feel like, 'I have to dress this person to be a successful designer.' Don't ever think that way. Just be you, be authentic, and be what you want to make. If you want to paint all your clothes, that's what you'll do, and you'll have a market for it. It won't be everyone, but that's OK."

Christian's Biggest Support Growing Up

"[My mom] always wanted me to be what I wanted to be, and if I wanted to make big tutu dresses, she let me make big tutu dresses."

"I didn't have a ton of support from too many industry people because I just didn't know anybody. I was pretty naive. I lived in London, and then I moved to New York and didn't know many people. But my biggest supporters were the women in my life, from my mom and sister to friends I was working with. My mom never held back. She always wanted me to be what I wanted to be, and if I wanted to make big tutu dresses, she let me make big tutu dresses. That was my push as a young designer to do what I wanted to do. And then I had a very eccentric sister who would wear all the crazy things I would make, so that helped."

Christian's Dedication to the Community
Courtesy of Christian Siriano

Christian's Dedication to the Community

"My idea is always to elevate, but also give back. I was thinking about myself out and about at any Pride event and thought, well, if this is what everybody's going to be wearing, how do we make it feel special? We still want people to feel comfortable and protected. Everyone is ready to celebrate our culture and all the amazing things we got through this year, but I don't want them to lose what Pride Month is about. It's about celebrating people and all the amazing things they can do and create when they come together. On a personal note, I want to have fun and dance, but I still want to make sure people feel good — that young gay kids and trans youth have a place to go."

Christian Siriano's Pride Mask

Christian Siriano's Pride Mask

The limited-edition Burst x Christian Siriano rainbow face mask comes with an expanding floss kit and retails for $40 at Burst, where you can also pick up one of the ultimate bundles with additional accessories. Siriano mixed in Burst's signature smile with his own colors scheme in an ombré effect: "Something that felt really happy and bold, but not like a traditional rainbow; a little more modern. We want people to feel proud and happy that they're getting a cool designer mask," Christian said.