#UTKGetsFierce: this hashtag, emblazoned on posters and flyers across campus, advertises a groundbreaking lecture sponsored by the Visual Arts Committee of the Central Program Council.
Christian Siriano will be the first fashion designer to deliver an Art Talk today at the UC auditorium.
The Annapolis, Md., native debuted his namesake collection in 2008 at New York Fashion Week, five months after he was announced the winner of the fourth season of "Project Runway." Since then, Siriano has been known for his evening gowns and cocktail dresses, clothing celebrities like Taylor Swift, Sarah Jessica Parker and "Project Runway" host and model, Heidi Klum. In 2013, the 27-year-old was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America, CFDA, alongside other "Project Runway" host, Michael Kors.
Much like previous Art Talk lectures VAC has held, Siriano will discuss his design process, inspirations and experiences within his field. Shannon Herron, graduate adviser for VAC, said the committee hopes to provide a more diverse definition of "visual art."
"We are really trying to broaden our definition of 'visual art' to encompass all aspects of the industry as well as to reach a broader audience who might be interested in fashion, costume design, etc," Herron, a first year graduate student in transmedia design, said via email. "I think it will be great for our students to hear how someone was able to take something that they were passionate about and make a very successful worldwide brand and name for themselves in this very competitive industry."
Each spring, the Visual Arts Committee holds an annual planning meeting where they brainstorm future lecturers, events and exhibits they would like to bring to campus. Siriano emerged as a potential lecturer and the committee managed to schedule him as its Keynote speaker this semester.
Morgan Hardy, VAC's press secretary, said she also hopes Siriano's perspective and work as a fashion designer will expand the definition of visual art.
"There's a pretty good faction of people in the world that consider fashion as art and fashion as a visual art," Hardy, a senior in theater, said. "I think that fashion is art, I think it can be wearable art, and I think we wanted to explore that idea a little more..."
From a press secretary standpoint, Hardy said Siriano's talent will sell itself. However, with this event, VAC is trying out new promotional campaign tools, such as the hashtag, QR codes and setting up tables on Pedestrian Walkway, to inform more students of the event.
"I would say in my time at the committee, this is one of the biggest events that we've had," Hardy said, "This is also one of the most forthright efforts we're making to make a comprehensive media plan and make a comprehensive advertising plan that will promote the event so we can get the turnout that we want."
VAC Chair Marta Lee, said Art Talk events "are designed to bring a new perspective to students."
"By having artists themselves speak about their work, we're able to see it in a new light," Lee said via email interview, a senior pursuing a bachelor's degree in two-dimensional arts with a concentration in painting.
VAC brought a Post Secret exhibit to campus about two years ago, and is hosting a lecture by artist Wayne White on Nov. 7. Both Hardy and Herron acknowledge attempting to broaden the definition of visual art, and both emphasized their hopes that the event will help establish fashion design within that category.
"We haven't delved into the world of fashion design but are very excited to start with Christian's lecture," Herron said. "I think this will be a great lecture as it will be of interest to a very diverse portion of the student body-anyone from art, theater, and costume design to retail and consumer science, marketing, and anywhere in between will be able to gain a lot of insight into their field from this event."
The event has open seating, and the doors of the UC auditorium will open at 6:30 p.m. Student ID is required for all students attending. There will be 532 seats available for the lecture.