Reality TV fashion stars find rough road to runway

Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:37pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Designer Christian Siriano gained national fame as the youngest winner of the "Project Runway," television show, but that was no guarantee he could break into the tight world of fashion -- or even get past security at New York's Fashion Week.

Siriano, known for his cocky attitude on the reality show, laughed it off when a security guard blocked him from the hall where he was presenting his line of clothes at the semi-annual fashion event.

But the incident illustrates the troubles new designers -- even winners of a hit U.S. television reality show -- have breaking into the elite established fashion world.

The 23-year-old Siriano shows his second collection this week in New York to buyers and editors, and a new documentary "Eleven Minutes" that charts the difficulties of the first winner of "Project Runway," Jay McCarroll, is released Friday.

The film takes a behind-the-scenes look at the months spent creating an 11-minute runway collection -- raising financial backing and selling the line -- but also asks whether a reality show winner can transfer his television success to the real fashion world.

"I had memories of people saying, 'You are America's next great designer' and me actually believing it," McCarroll, 34, said in a recent interview with Reuters. "I still have the same struggles as everyone else does. It's a business."

"You have a very elite stream of people in this inner fashion circle, and you have a bunch of people outside trying to get in it," he said.

"Project Runway" has catapulted its winners, and plenty of its losers, into the fashion spotlight after just a few high-pressure weeks of designing clothes in competition with other contestants.   Continued...

<p>Fashion designer Christian Siriano arrives at the 2008 American Music Awards in Los Angeles November 23, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>