Wadria Taylor is the founder and director of Style Week Pittsburgh, but she immerses herself in fashion year-round.
She owns Style & Steel event planning, holds a position on the board of the fledgling Fashion Group International Pittsburgh provisional chapter and is a familiar face at local fashion events. But this week, she’s amping up her focus on fashion even more with the second annual Style Week Pittsburgh, which begins today with a runway show at The Priory Grand Hall on the North Side. The theme is “En Vogue,” meaning what’s in fashion.
Setting the SEEN: Style Week Pittsburgh, fashion trucks and more
SEEN editor Natalie Bencivenga and style editor Sara Bauknecht preview the second annual Style Week Pittsbugh and learn how to channel their inner Naomi Campbell with runway tips from Jaylee Lemon. (Video by Nate Guidry and Melissa Tkach; 8/8/2014)
“All of the events are showcasing designers, boutiques and fashion-oriented brands that embody a contemporary essence,” she says.
It’s just the second year for the event, but it’s already grown a lot since its inaugural outing, Ms. Taylor says. It’s expanded from five to seven days of fashion festivities at venues across the city and will showcase a mix of Pittsburgh-based designers and ones from abroad. For the kick-off celebration, designers Laura Portia Brady, who recently relocated to Pittsburgh from Dublin, Ireland, and Toya Taylor, Ms. Taylor’s cousin from Kingston, Jamaica, will infuse the evening with some international fashion flair. Models will be styled by Philip Pelusi Salons, which will prep them throughout the week, and received runway training from coach Jaylee Lemon of ReFined Culture.
On Tuesday, FGI Pittsburgh will hold an accessory trunk show at the Luxe bath and kitchen specialty store’s East Liberty location at the recently developed Indigo Square retail strip.
“It’s an emerging business in the city that represents innovation but more on the home lifestyle end of fashion and style,” says Ms. Taylor, noting that she thinks it’s important to use Style Week Pittsburgh as a vehicle for bringing attention not only to fashion but also to restaurants, lounges and businesses people may not be familiar with.
The accessory event will spotlight vendors for men and women, plus selections from fashion trucks and Pittsburgh-based designers and boutiques, including Kiya Tomlin and Trim Pittsburgh. Day three will continue Downtown with a jewelry showcase at Macy’s. Patrons will be able to get pampered while they party with beauty treatments and style consultations.
Thursday will mark the return of the Style Awards saluting influential figures in fashion, media and business at the Ultra Lounge in Uptown. This year, the list of honorees is broader, Ms. Taylor says. Entertainment at the Ultra Lounge will resume on Friday with the Fashion in the Skies runway show with looks from some of the city’s fashion trucks and boutiques, including Chemistry in East Liberty and Mid-Atlantic Mercantile in Lawrenceville. If crowds like what they see, they’ll have a chance to shop at Mid-Atlantic Mercantile and other select shops in Lawrenceville on Saturday and receive discounts and special offers as part of a boutique crawl.
Style Week Pittsburgh will wrap up with an invitation-only Brunch En Blanc at a private residence on Mount Washington on Sunday. Stakeholders in the local fashion community will convene to exchange ideas on how to further evolve and enrich it.
People are starting to take notice of Ms. Taylor’s efforts. Pittsburgh City Council and Mayor Bill Peduto’s office issued proclamations declaring this week Style Week Pittsburgh in the city. The first year attracted a total of about 600 people throughout the week.
“It’s great that people actually know what I’m talking about,” she says.
What differentiates Style Week Pittsburgh from other fashion events such as Pittsburgh Fashion Week is that its mission goes beyond stirring the public’s interest and awareness of the region’s fashion scene. It’s also about keeping some events more intimate in size to provide industry insiders with a chance to network and build professional relationships, Ms. Taylor says.
“Our mission is not only to showcase fashion, but we want to create a better environment for fashion-oriented businesses to thrive.”
Style Week Pittsburgh event lineup
Today: Kick-off party and designer fashion show, 6-10 p.m. at The Priory Grand Hall, North Side. $35; $75 for VIP access.
Tuesday: Accessory trunk show, 6-9 p.m. at Luxe Indigo Square, East Liberty. Free and open to the public.
Wednesday: Jewelry showcase, 5 p.m. at Macy’s, Downtown. Free and open to the public.
Thursday: The Style Awards, 6-9 p.m. at Ultra Lounge, Uptown. $35.
Friday: Fashion in the Skies boutique fashion show, 6-10 p.m. at Ultra Lounge, Uptown. $25; $50 for VIP access.
Saturday: Lawrenceville boutique crawl, noon-5 p.m. at select boutiques in the neighborhood. No charge to participate.
Sunday: Brunch en Blanc, invitation only.
Tickets and information: www.styleweekpittsburgh.com. A portion of the net proceeds from the week will go to Strong Women, Strong Girls.
All week long style editor Sara Bauknecht will be documenting Style Week Pittsburgh with runway recaps, designer Q&As, photos and more on her blog Stylebook at www.post-gazette.com/stylebook. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SaraB_PG for updates from events.