Here's How Much Christian Siriano Is Really Worth

After becoming the youngest winner of "Project Runway" in 2008, Christian Siriano's career was off to the races. The Bravolebrity wasted no time in starting his own label and disseminating his clothing to every state in the Union. Now it's almost impossible to visit a mall without finding a tag bearing his name. When a Season 19 contestant called Siriano "the most successful designer that has ever come out of 'Project Runway,'" there was not a stitch of hyperbole to be found.

Over a decade since his victory, Siriano is worth an estimated $10 million dollars, according to Celebrity Net Worth. While he's not yet to the level of Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren, Siriano has amassed a sizable fortune in his time in the fashion industry, especially impressive given his young age.

Siriano's path to wealth was not without difficulty, though. In an industry known for exclusion, Siriano had to fight to be taken seriously as a designer due to his roots in reality television. Find out how Christian Siriano defied industry standards to create a lucrative business, and how he's changed fashion in return.

Christian Siriano started early

Long before Christian Siriano was wowing fashion fans across the world, he was living in Maryland, fostering his love for art and design. His parents separated when he was young, but both have always supported him. "I had a great childhood!" he told De Novo Magazine. "My family is so supportive of the arts and creativity."

Particularly interested in costume design, Siriano attended high school at Baltimore School for the Arts (anyone else suddenly in the mood to watch "Step Up"?). Reflecting on his time at the institution at the annual Charles C. Baum Symposium for Business and the Arts, he shared that while the first collection he created at BSA was "hot-glued and horrible," it still "worked." Eager to keep the momentum going, he applied to the Fashion Institute of Technology for college, but, as he said in a sit-down for 92nd Street Y (via Elle), "Well, I didn't get it, so instead, I went to London and studied there."

Fashion is a notoriously difficult industry to break into, and Christian Siriano did so in part by building a network through internships with some of the best designers of the 21st century, including Vivienne Westwood, Marc Jacobs, and Alexander McQueen. Speaking about the late designer at the aforementioned 92nd Street Y event, Siriano said, "McQueen was a very inspiring place, and it was a very creative place. I still try to run my studio like that because it was very hands on."

A lucrative Project Runway win

Although Christian Siriano already had experience in the fashion industry, his career began in earnest after winning Season 4 of Bravo's hit competition series "Project Runway." His win introduced his designs to the world and catapulted him into stardom. (Who could ever forget that avant-garde look he and the late Chris March created?) "I only planned to win. I didn't know what I was going to do with my life if I didn't win," he told USA Today. We don't know what we would've done if he didn't win, either. Saved money, probably.

Winning "Project Runway" not only gave him clout, it earned him some major cash. The prize package included a new car, a spread in Elle, and a whopping $100,000 dollars, which he put toward starting his own label. Years after winning the competition himself, Siriano returned to the "Project Runway" set in a different capacity, serving as a guide for the contestants, replacing venerated "Project Runway" mentor Tim Gunn.

Siriano used the opportunity to bring more attention to his label, and to show contestants what's possible through the "Project Runway" platform. "And I mean, obviously, when I was on that show, I was 21 years old — an actual child!" he said in a 2019 interview with The Washington Post. "And now, having a business, 40 employees, a real company, people can see what you start with and what you can turn it into."

His label overcame 'failures' early on

Christian Siriano's career had a buoyant springboard called "Project Runway," which broadcasted his name and padded his bank account, but the designer had to work hard for the industry to take him seriously — or even pay him any mind at all. "In the beginning, failures were so hard," Siriano said at the Charles C. Baum Symposium for Business and the Arts. "Every collection, I was doing what I thought was beautiful work, 40-50 pieces, but no retailer was picking it up."

After debuting his eponymous label at New York Fashion Week, stories about his line weren't published in popular fashion news outlets. "Sometimes it would be nice to be judged the way other young brands are," he told The New York Times in 2009. "It's very tough for anyone to move forward, because you don't know if you are good."

Of course, Siriano is good, and his talent made sure he transcended his reality star label. One of the first seasons of his ready-to-wear clothing netted him an estimated $5 million dollars, and his business has only continued to grow, thanks to his designs. "Getting the customer to come back season after season has nothing to do with anything. The clothes have to be good, that's all it is," he told The Guardian. And he's right — the clothes are good.

Christian Siriano's myriad collaborations

Christian Siriano has always had a money-making mindset. These days it's common to see high end designers collaborate with affordable brands — think Balmain and H&M or Stella McCartney and Adidas. Siriano started this practice early in his career. "I don't want to go the QVC route. I want to start high-end and work my way down," he told USA Today of his approach.

He understands that high-end stuff isn't exactly accessible to everyone, so he's made moves to ensure his work reaches a broader audience. "Some of the clothes that I want to make that I love as a little dreamer, not everyone's going to buy. And they are super expensive to do. So the way I supplement that is by partnering with other brands and doing other projects that can help fund that part of the business," he told The Washington Post.

And partnering with other brands he has. Siriano has collaborated with brands like Payless and Lane Bryant, and sells his clothes at affordable department stores like Kohl's and Macy's. He's expanded his label to design home decor, too, selling his products through retailers like Wayfair.

Before his clothes were in every department store in America, though, he was collaborating with unexpected brands like Starbucks and LG to fund his label, per The New York Times. He even wrote a book: "Fierce Style: How to Be Your Most Fabulous Self." The man knows how to make a living.

Lots of stars wear Christian Siriano

Christian Siriano's designs aren't just popular among the masses; celebrities are fond of his clothing, too. As noted on the designer's website, his dresses have been donned by a long list of superstars, a roster that includes A-listers like Angelina Jolie, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Oprah Winfrey. Naturally, his runway shows draw quite a glitzy crowd: His 2021 New York Fashion Week show brought in a number of famous faces, including Alicia Silverstone and Busy Philipps. 

One incredibly high-profile customer had quite an effect on his career: Former First Lady Michelle Obama chose to wear one of his dresses because of his commitment to making clothes for everybody. "She chose to wear me at the Democratic National Convention because I was dressing all these other women of size and color," he told Fashion Week Daily. "I've been celebrating all these different types of people for a long time."

Dressing celebrities has paid off for the designer — literally. After the First Lady was seen in his $995 dollar dress, a lot of people wanted to get their hands on a copy of the garment. He hasn't disclosed the exact number sold, but he assured The Guardian it was "a great amount." "Trust me, I'd love to brag about it," he added. And we would love to know.

Christian Siriano is changing fashion

In addition to being financially successful, Christian Siriano's inclusive approach to design has had a hand in changing the fashion industry. "I grew up with a mom who is a size 16, and a sister who is a size 0, so I never thought that wasn't normal — I just assumed you had to dress everybody," he told The Guardian. He shared a similar sentiment when he sat down with actor Christina Hendricks for InStyle to chat about his career. "I was just excited to work with everybody, and why not?" he said. An added bonus? Being inclusive has been good to his bank account. As he said at a 2018 92nd Street Y event (via Elle), "Adding plus sizes to my line tripled my business. Why wouldn't you do that?!"

Siriano hasn't just dressed women of all sizes; he's put them on the runway, too. After crossing paths with popular plus-size model Ashley Graham, he cast her for one of his shows, and he's kept them on since. "After meeting these amazing women, it didn't make sense to go back to my normal casting," he told Fashion Week Daily.

When Siriano was named one of Time's most influential people in 2018, actor Leslie Jones reflected on how he was the only designer who wanted to dress her for the "Ghostbusters" premiere — and that launched a long-running collaboration. She wrote, "That's the specialness of Christian Siriano: he makes every piece feel like you are supposed to have it and like it was made for you."

Christian Siriano has some nice real estate

Christian Siriano started dating musician Brad Walsh in 2007, and less than a decade later they tied the knot. Like Siriano, Walsh has also found financial success: According to Idol Net Worth, he has an estimated net worth of $8.5 million dollars. The two acquired tremendous real estate, including a stunning vacation house in Danbury, Connecticut. So stunning, in fact, they decided to use it as their wedding venue, per Brides. Their relationship officially came to an end when Siriano filed for divorce in 2021, per Entertainment Tonight.

Speaking of vacation houses, Siriano bought a second abode in Westport, Connecticut, and the property was featured in Architectural Digest in 2020. "The last year or two, I just haven't stopped — doing shows, collections, collaborations," he said. "I was like, I need a break. I wanted something zen and easy."

Siriano also showed his home to "Cribs," the reboot of MTV's hit reality show from the early aughts. What's more, as W magazine noted, Siriano hosted a runway show on the property during the global pandemic. The cost of the home has not been revealed, but we're willing to bet it was a pricey purchase.

Giving back is big for Christian Siriano

Christian Siriano doesn't just spend his money on beautiful real estate; he gives back, too. The designer is passionate about multiple causes, many associated with fashion, as you might expect. Siriano was especially busy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, donating to the Fashion Scholarship Fund, per People, and creating masks for frontline workers in New York hospitals. "I'm trimming masks for three hours some days, which is not very exciting but it feels good," he told W magazine. And his work did not go unrecognized by the state: As WWD reported, New York gave him over $350,000 to keep up the PPE production.

In addition to being a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America — a not-for-profit that gives to various organizations — Siriano has become a fixture of the Met Gala. While known for being an exclusive party where the world's most famous people create iconic fashion moments, the event is a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute, per The New York Times. Siriano's creations, such as the floral gown he made for Lili Reinhart in 2021, have dazzled on the red carpet time and time again.

While his talents as a designer set him apart, his compassion for others is what makes him a cut above. "Empathy, generosity, charity, kindness, willingness to help, willingness to listen. None of these are difficult," he tweeted in 2016. "They make you better."