When Miyoshi Anderson founded Pittsburgh Fashion Week in 2010, she hoped its lineup of runway shows and vendor fairs would become a household name synonymous with family-friendly entertainment. She also envisioned it as a chance to bring more opportunities for local models, designers and stylists.
"When I was modeling 10 years ago, I worked a lot," Ms. Anderson said. "I saw in the past decade the decline of work and the fashion industry sort of lying dormant."
Three years later, she sees this vision coming to fruition, with a rise in inquiries from those interested in participating in the event and increases in followers on social media. Last year's event attracted a few thousand people, she said, including Pittsburgh-based models, designers, photographers, retailers and stylists.
"I've seen [Pittsburgh Fashion Week] encourage them to open up and develop their own companies, just getting it out there," Ms. Anderson said. "They're really pushing forward with the exposure."
Pittsburgh Fashion Week returns Monday for its fourth outing, bringing with it six days of fashion-focused events at venues across the city. It will wrap up Sept. 29 with the fourth annual inductions into the Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame at the Omni William Penn hotel.
The week is a mix of new offerings as well as an emphasis on crowd favorites from past years.
"I'd like to continue to cultivate and grow what we've already set a standard with," Ms. Anderson said. Keeping some consistency with events from year to year will help Pittsburgh Fashion Week build brand recognition, she hopes.
The week kicks off at Highmark Stadium with a vendor fair and fashion show spotlighting Pittsburgh-based designers Alicia Akrie, Debbie Weiss and Faith Pongracz of Faith n' Khaos. "Diva Chef" Elise Wims, a contestant on the reality TV show "Hell's Kitchen," will serve as master of ceremonies. The night will benefit Free Wheelchair Mission, which provides wheelchairs to people in impoverished communities.
Next Tuesday will mark the return of the men's fashion show, to be held at the Pittsburgh Winery in the Strip District, a new location for the event. Local celebrities will walk the runway, with former Post-Gazette fashion editor LaMont Jones providing commentary. Capacity Developers Inc., a nonprofit that supports families seeking work and economic security through job search attire and counseling, will be the evening's featured charity.
Earlier in the day will be Fashion Week's first "pop up" display in Market Square. Organizers partnered with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Ms. Anderson said, to coordinate the event. Some of the city's mobile boutiques will park in the area so passers-by can shop.
Another new attraction this year will the fall fashion showcase Sept. 25 for Pittsburgh professionals on the fourth floor of Macy's, Downtown. Designs by Art Institute of Pittsburgh fashion students will be on display in the department store's window.
"We are coming ... to bridge the gap between fashion and the companies that are here," Ms. Anderson said.
The second annual Pink Partini and Fashion Bash with KDKA-TV anchor Kristine Sorensen will fill Day 4 at Tanger Outlets. More trends for fall will be highlighted, with funds raised going to charity.
Festivities will pick up again during the weekend with back-to-back student runway shows at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Downtown. Six aspiring designers will show off their creations, Ms. Anderson said.
A luncheon will conclude the week on Sept. 29 and honor this year's hall of fame inductees: Michael Barone, creative director of MODA Men's Fashions; Jean Bryant, retired Post-Gazette journalist and founder of the Miss Black Teenage and Mr. African American programs; Tom Julian, style expert and author of "Nordstrom Guide to Men's Style"; Debbie Norrell, lifestyle editor for the New Pittsburgh Courier; E.B. Pepper, owner of e.b. Pepper in Shadyside; and Marianne Skiba, Emmy Award-winning celebrity makeup artist. Honorees have at least 10 years of experience in the fashion or beauty industry and ties to Pittsburgh.
For the first time, the hall of fame will recognize an up-and-coming member of Pittsburgh's fashion and beauty scene, Jacqueline Capatolla, owner of JACQUELINE's salon and author of "Shear Dreams."
"I want people to see the talent that's here," Ms. Anderson said. "I want them to see the resources here to make them think to want to stay in Pittsburgh ... and let them know they can produce and control and maintain a business here and, of course, enjoy the entertainment and watching the people grow."
Sara Bauknecht: email@example.com or on Twitter @SaraB_PG. First Published September 17, 2013 4:00 AM