Pittsburgh Fashion Week sashayed into the city Monday for its third annual offering of events spotlighting local designers and looks for men and women at venues across Pittsburgh.
Opening-night festivities painted the town green with an eco-chic fashion show at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, Oakland.
Environmentally focused fashions have been popular in previous years, said founder and executive director Miyoshi Anderson.
The interest was apparent from participants' enthusiasm and the healthy attendance.
Models, styled with eco-friendly makeup, sported selections by Lana Neumeyer, iman B. and Faith Pongracz of Faith n' Khaos. Some designs brought a taste of Brazil and bursts of color to the runway with feathered head dresses, swimwear and flag-inspired patterned wraps. Others were inventive with their use of burlap, bamboo, refuse bags and other recyclable materials. Clothes from Faith n' Khaos incorporated items such as torn pizza boxes, crumbled paper and gift wrap as a commentary on consumption in society. Trends varied from bright and bold to simpler stretch dresses in creams, grays and blacks.
Donations and a silent auction raised funds for Free Wheelchair Mission, which supplies wheelchairs for those in need around the world.
But the week's events aren't just for the ladies. "I want people to take away from Pittsburgh Fashion Week, industry insiders and non-industry insiders, that it's a great event for everyone to enjoy," Ms. Anderson said.
Today's lineup is for the well-dressed man with a "ManStyle" runway show at the Heinz History Center, Strip District. Models, who will include KDKA's Rick Dayton, WTAE's Andrew Stockey and WPXI's Vince Sims, will show off attire for the office and off hours from Verdette, C. Brown Custom Clothiers and Suited 4 Work. Proceeds will benefit Capacity Developers Inc.
Day 3 will revisit the "PINK" pride show at The Mall at Robinson from Pittsburgh Fashion Week's inaugural year to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Pink bites, pink-tinis and pink manicures and hair extensions by Philip Pelusi Salons will color the evening, as well as a fashion show emceed by KDKA's Kristine Sorensen. Doctors also will be on hand to discuss women's health and preventative screenings.
Thursday will take fashion week followers to a new location for the annual affair with a fall fashion showcase at Tanger Outlets, where former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette fashion editor LaMont Jones will share style tips with attendees.
The week will wrap up with two traditions: back-to-back runway shows and a vendors fair Saturday at the Clarion Hotel & Convention Center in Green Tree and the inductions of this year's Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame class at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown. Honorees are Demeatria Boccella, executive producer and founder of the annual FashionAFRICANA event for arts, fashion and African-American culture; the late Nick Bracco, founder of Pittsburgh Fashion Magazine; Norman Childs, founder and CEO of Eyetique; Violet Caridi Gallo, designer and nonprofit fundraiser; the late Ilene Waldman, owner of Name-Dropper Boutique; and Dolores Warwick, executive producer of Folio Productions.
Ms. Anderson, a longtime actress and model, founded Pittsburgh Fashion Week as a way to cultivate more opportunities for local designers, models, fashion photographers and stylists. So far, she's encouraged by the growth she's seen for the event, which attracted about 1,500 last year.
"I think it is changing," she said about the city's attitude toward style. "I think it's a slow growth, however, it's growth. What I'm hearing from the industry insiders and from non-industry insiders is that Pittsburgh Fashion Week has put fashion and Pittsburgh on the map in that regard."
And she's optimistic that more Pittsburghers will embrace it.
"I'd like Pittsburgh Fashion Week to become a household name," she said.
Sara Bauknecht: firstname.lastname@example.org. First Published September 25, 2012 4:00 AM