Pittsburgh style: Week of events highlights city’s fashion trendsetters
Philip Pelusi is an internationally recognized stylist, photographer and product artist.
He holds events and seminars for salon owners from all across North America. Pelusi has been involved in fashion events all over the world.
But on July 31 at Spa Jema, Downtown, he was focused on a series of style events in Pittsburgh.
Pelusi will help beautify models for the inaugural Style Week Pittsburgh — five days of fashion-focused events Aug. 7 to 11 at venues throughout the city, including a boutique crawl and a fashion show to benefit Gwen’s Girls, a charity that serves girls and young women.
The mission of Style Week Pittsburgh is to create a platform for trailblazing and trendsetting fashion and style gems in the region to connect and showcase their brands.
It’s the brainchild of Wadria Taylor, 28, who is its event director as well as founder of Style & Steel, an event-planning and marketing company where Taylor has choreographed a wide range of signature events, from Fashion Fever to Fashion’s Night Out to Glam for the Cure.
“Style Week Pittsburgh is great, because it is an energetic set of events for the city,” Pelusi said at the media preview at the spa. “We are happy to partner with Wadria, and are excited about all of the style events. This is great for Pittsburgh, because there are a lot of fashionable people in this city. I think the event will take Pittsburgh to another level.”
Jennifer Blodgett, president and CEO of Spa Jema, agrees with Pelusi. She says she was happy to join with Taylor to help with the event, to show that you don’t have to go to New York or Los Angeles for your fashion fix. There’s plenty of style in Pittsburgh, she says — just attend one of the many galas throughout the city or take a walk Downtown or through city neighborhoods such as Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, Fox Chapel, Sewickley and Oakmont.
“I think this will bring an awareness of what is going on in the fashion community in Pittsburgh,” Blodgett says. “We have lot of fashion right here. Having many events in the same week is a way to bring like-minded people together to promote fashion and style.”
That is Taylor’s thinking, too. In addition to planning fashion events, she has worked on the annual Pittsburgh Fashion Week, which celebrates its fourth year Sept. 23 to 29.
Having another multiple-day fashion event in Pittsburgh is positive, says Pittsburgh Fashion Week founder and executive director Miyoshi Anderson.
“There is so much style here in Pittsburgh, from designers to boutique owners to fashionable men and women,” Anderson says. “We want to keep the fashion talent here. It seems like fashion in Pittsburgh is sometimes disjointed, but if we do events like Pittsburgh Fashion Week and Style Week Pittsburgh, then it will bring attention to our city and to all the fashionable people in Pittsburgh.”
Anderson says both undertakings have their missions, so she doesn’t consider them to be competitors. She says, if anything, the two will help each other create buzz about everything from clothing and accessories trends to beauty tips and where to shop.
“There is so much fragmentation of the fashion industry here, in terms of there are so many events, but not everyone knows about these events,” Anderson says. “The more we can get the fashion community in one place, the better it is to help bring more cohesiveness to the fashion community — so I say, the more, the merrier.”
“Miyoshi and I support each other,” says Taylor, who came here to study at the University of Pittsburgh from New York City. “It helps us all when we work together. It doesn’t work well when we are divided and just try and do our own thing.”
Taylor decided to create Style Week Pittsburgh after attending a similar event in her native Jamaica. She had been planning a few of the events already, so she decided to just schedule them all in the same week.
“Pittsburgh has a history of fashion, and I think we are experiencing a new kind of renaissance here in Pittsburgh, and style plays a part in that,” Taylor says.
Supporting such endeavors is important to designer Lana Neumeyer on O’Hara. She’s been a part of Pittsburgh Fashion Week as well as multiple shows and events throughout the city. She will be showcasing her fashions on opening night at the red-carpet event for Style Week Pittsburgh.
“I trust Wadria because she is the type of person who goes after it,” Neumeyer says. “I believe fashion events can be successful in Pittsburgh, because Pittsburgh is getting better and better with supporting these kinds of events. It is becoming more and more fashionable every day.”
Neumeyer, a native of Brazil, says she likes Taylor’s choices of venues because they are interesting. Creating unique collections that feature bright colors and bold patterns has been Neumeyer’s passion.
“People are ready for having two fashion-oriented days-long events in Style Week Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Fashion Week,” Neumeyer says. “There are a lot of great sponsors, and the timing is good for Style Week Pittsburgh, because in the summer, people want to be out and about and dressed in their finest fashion.”
Taylor wanted to include seasoned professionals such as Neumeyer as well as up-and-coming talent. Sofiya Mozley from Homestead is a fashion-design student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Downtown. She has shown her collection in Pittsburgh Fashion Week and has been a volunteer for it.
Mozley designs, which include pops of color, interesting textures and animal-print designs, will be part of the Decades show Aug. 9. She also creates jewelry.
“When I was young, I would daydream about fashion,” Mozley says. “I would draw stick figures with clothing on them. I couldn’t think of doing anything else but fashion.”
Taylor says she wanted to choose locations and hold events that were diverse and would attract a wide variety of people while showcasing some of the impressive talent in Pittsburgh.
“I want to help push fashion forward,” Taylor says. “I feel like Style Week Pittsburgh is my purpose. Pittsburgh has all of the right ingredients to be a fashionable city. We just need to cook them up together.”
“There are people who think Pittsburgh is not a fashion city,” Mozley says. Hopefully, we can change that.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at [email protected] or 412-320-7889.