In its second year, Style Week Pittsburgh is growing — in length and width.
It will encompass an entire week — Aug. 11 to 17 — as opposed to last year’s five days. Events will span venues in East Liberty, Downtown, Uptown, Lawrenceville and on the North Side.
“Style Week Pittsburgh is about more than fashion shows,” says Wadria Taylor of Highland Park, the event’s director. “It’s about giving back, as well as showcasing local gems, from designers to businesses to areas of the city. It’s about being in a stylish environment and being around stylish individuals.”
Style Week is Taylor’s idea. She’s the founder of Style & Steel, an event planning and marketing company that choreographed a range of signature events, such as Fashion Fever, Fashion’s Night Out and Glam for the Cure.
This year, the event will benefit Strong Women, Strong Girls, a nationally recognized multigenerational mentoring program.
The seven days of style include two upscale fashion shows, an accessory trunk show, a jewelry showcase, a style awards program, a boutique crawl and an invitation-only brunch.
The week will kick off with an opening night fashion show at the Priory Grand Hall on the North Side. The evening will feature two international designers — Toya Taylor of Kingston, Jamaica, and Laura Portia Brady from Dublin, who recently moved to Forest Hills. Both say they are looking forward to showcasing their collections in the United States.
Brady is known for her European sense of style, which represents a modern twist on vintage, adding a special flavor to evening and bridal wear.
Toya Taylor’s collection is the perfect marriage between androgyny and femininity. Her designs are classic silhouettes with modern details. She mixes bold prints and colors, representing her Caribbean heritage, with clean lines.
“For me, it’s not about the magnitude of the week,” says Toya Taylor, who will have a dozen looks in the show. “It’s about the culture of fashion in Pittsburgh. I applaud Wadria for tapping into the culture of fashion in Pittsburgh, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
The Toya Taylor Collection includes several pieces made of flowy fabrics, as well as items with a thicker texture — a nod to fall, which isn’t far away.
“I hope they love it,” she says.
Brady says Wadria Taylor is doing an amazing job coordinating everything.
“She is so easy to work with,” says Brady, who attended medical school but was drawn to the fashion world.
Brady’s inspiration is Parisian flair. She uses fabrics such as chiffon and silk to create bridal gowns, as well as dresses suitable for black-tie events.
Brady isn’t one to follow trends, she says, because she tries to keep ahead of them.
“I don’t really like the word ‘trend,’ because, to me, it is so of the moment,” she says. “I prefer a classic style. I prefer a piece that you can wear now and that your daughter can wear 20 years from now.”
Brady, who will have a dozen looks in the show, says vintage never goes out of style. She sells from her collection and creates custom-designed pieces (portiabridalboutique.com).
“I love to make beautiful art,” Brady says. “I love what I do, and I love the freedom and creative side of things.”
Both designers agree it is special to be part of opening night.
“Opening night should be fun,” Brady says. “It will also be kind of overwhelming. But I am ready to jump right in and kick the week off in style.
“A lot of people buy a garment because they have heard of the name,” she says. “By having an event like Style Week Pittsburgh, there will be many designers who will be showcased that are local, which is wonderful.”
Designer Kiya Tomlin is committed to helping get the word out about the city’s fashion scene. She has a studio in Indigo Square in East Liberty and will be involved in the accessories trunk show.
“Wadria has a passion for living fashionably and embracing style as a form of self-expression,” Tomlin says. “Through Style Week Pittsburgh, she has created a social medium to showcase both local and international trendsetters and hot spots to our city. I am excited to be included in the fashion-focused energy that she is cultivating.”
So is Jackee Ging of Scott, owner of Style Truck, a mobile boutique. She will be part of three events Aug. 12, 15 and 16.
“Style Week Pittsburgh helps bring attention to fashion in Pittsburgh, from boutiques to designers to fashion trucks like mine,” Ging says. “Wadria has reached out to a lot of different people, and she makes things happen. I enjoy being affiliated with her great vibes.”
Part of Wadria Taylor’s mission is to get the word out by connecting designers and business owners such as Tomlin and Ging, while showcasing these creative individuals and the many stylish companies in Pittsburgh for this the second year, and hopefully many to come, she says.
“I am proud of the variety and the diversity here,” says Taylor, who came here to attend the University of Pittsburgh and wanted to become an attorney. “I stayed because this is a wonderful city, and it has so much potential. I started doing fashion events and decided this is where I want to be. I want to help people. This is challenging work, but I love a challenge, and I believe in this city.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7889 or [email protected].