Pittsburgh Fashion Week runway show attracted national attention
“It was a great show, very well produced.”
Those were the words of Amanda Curtis, after “The Runway” show on Sept. 20 at the PPG Wintergarden, Downtown as part of Pittsburgh Fashion Week.
Fashion Week wrapped up a trio of events, beginning with The Social on Sept. 17, followed by The Panel on Sept. 19 and the finale, a standing room only show called The Runway.
Curtis, who lives in New York, was in town for the style event. As co-founder Nineteenth Amendment, an on-demand marketplace and manufacturing service for fashion made in the USA, she recognizes talent when she sees it ( https://shop.nineteenthamendment.com )
The goal of the company is to see brands grow by bringing beautiful products to consumers who understand their value.
Curtis helped five local designers join Nineteenth Amendment, including Elaine Healey ( https://shop.nineteenthamendment.com/collections/elaine-healy-ss19 ), who teamed with jewelry maker Sarah Sindler ( https://shop.nineteenthamendment.com/collections/king-reld-droolery ), as well as Richard Ramirez and Sean E. Matzus ( https://shop.nineteenthamendment.com/collections/hoch ), who collaborated on a collection, and Oona Nateson.
Ramirez and Matzus of Fairchance, Fayette County, co-own an avant-garde brand that focuses on deconstruction, re-purposed garments, handmade techniques, alternative visions of beauty and unconventional designs.
Natesan is known for her minimal and modern clothing, and uses highlights of embroidery. Her collection focuses on interpreting contemporary cuts and styles with Indian textile and fabric.
Being noticed by Nineteenth Amendment is a dream, says Healy, of Friendship, who can now follow her passion for fashion by designing clothing in a city she loves.
Healy’s line is focused on the intersection of personal style and the avant-garde. Fascinated by the man-versus-machine aesthetic, her collections embody a merging of technical processes and hand-rendered techniques.
Sindler, who graduated from Chatham University in Shadyside, explores how expectations of beauty standards affect consumerist perspectives on luxury and high-end goods through her pieces.
The duo explored the hidden and ugly parts of ourselves, hoping to illuminate flaws in a way that is accepting and safe.
“I love Pittsburgh and I want to stay here, and there are many other designers who feel the same way,” Healy says. “I love to design, and I want to have a business selling my collections. These fashion shows are about helping designers get noticed, Pittsburgh Fashion Week did just that.”
Healy says Nineteenth Amendment is an amazing platform.
“There is frustration in being an emerging designer, but with 19th Amendment things are so much more accessible,” Healy says. “They have the designers’ needs in mind.”
For the third consecutive year, the Downtown Community Development Corporation (formerly the PDCDC) returned as organizers for Pittsburgh Fashion Week.
This corporation is a community-based organization that serves downtown Pittsburgh. Through innovative programs and events that support residential development, assist small businesses and promote the arts and entertainment.
Dedicated to the evolution of industry and commerce, Pittsburgh Fashion Week’s mission is to unite and promote the emerging fashion industry by presenting a fresh perspective of the talent within our city.
Each designer had his or her models. Of the 86 individuals who were on the runway, not one walked twice, giving each designer his or her own talent.
In addition to Healy and Sindler, Ramirez and Matzus and Nateson, other designers who showcased their work included
Andre Jones, a multidisciplinary artist, who brought his graphic artwork to the runway for the very first time. His collection has been described as “coolness personified mixed with street style.”
Contemporary fashion designer Anna Lemley, of Pittsburgh, showcased her line known for minimalist aesthetic, inspired by silhouettes and the craft that goes into each individual garment.
Pittsburgh native and Carnegie Mellon University student Bernice Yu is a lifelong lover of fashion, and says she values combining textile art, sustainable fashion, in bold and extravagant silhouettes when she creates.
Lauria Pascuzzi, is a Pittsburgh based avant-garde designer, known for her high fashion, edgy yet feminine looks and her collections deep connection with different social and economical issues.
Another panelist who attended the fashion show Amanda Cosco, founder of Electric Runway, a global fashion and technology company based in Toronto, Canada, recognized the runway show.
“The runway show was super interesting, and I was impressed with the amount of diversity,” says Cosco. “New York runways have a problem with diversity. It was good to see Pittsburgh come together to celebrate fashion.”
Cosco says Pittsburgh Fashion Week is out to change the perception that Pittsburgh isn’t stylish, and an event such as the runway show can make a difference.
“Pittsburgh has a strong fashion identity,” says Cosco, who has interest in coming back next year to help with a high-tech fashion show. “I can see that by the quality of the designs and the interest from the people who attended the show. Pittsburgh has an appetite for fashion.”
Putting Pittsburgh on the fashion map was the goal of the runway show, says stylist and Art Institute of Pittsburgh fashion instructor, Suzanne Mauro, who produced the event.
“We want to elevate the work of these talented designers,” says Mauro. “It’s about educating people about these amazingly creative individuals, mentoring them and giving them opportunities to sell their collections.”
JoAnne Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062 or [email protected] or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.