Fashion Week organizer turns focus to next year
By JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
Published: Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
The planning never ends, really.
Two days into the third annual Pittsburgh Fashion Week, which ended with Sunday's Fashion Hall of Fame luncheon, executive director Miyoshi Anderson talked about making next year a seven-day event.
“I am thinking about what we can do on the Friday of next year's fashion week,” Anderson said. “I think we missed out on having something on Friday for this year's event.”
She wants to fill that void for 2013. That continuous thinking goes along with her vision. And she never thought for one moment that fashion week was going to be a one-and-done event.
And she won't have other people thinking that, either.
“I can see Pittsburgh Fashion Week very far into the future,” said Anderson after the conclusion of Saturday's 15 back-to-back runway shows at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center in Green Tree. “It will come to be an expected event in this city. If I did not have challenges, I would not be able to see the years to come. That is how companies are made. Look at Walmart and Walt Disney and Apple. The way to be successful is to always be thinking in advance.”
Anderson, who has modeled all over the world, is dedicated to having Fashion Week as much a fall staple as a warm jacket. Next year's dates are Sept. 23 through 29.
“I had the dream of Pittsburgh having its own fashion week, and now that it's become reality, I want to continue to build on it to make it bigger and better,” Anderson said. “It's something that takes continuous work and planning, but it is also something that, when I see the week all come together, I am elated for this city. Pittsburgh has people who appreciate fashion.”
Just take a look at this year's hall-of-fame class, she said.
Nick Bracco, Demeatria Boccella, Norman Childs, Violet Gallo, Ilene Waldman, and Dolores Warwick were honored at a luncheon at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown.
“How very impressed I am with these fashion icons with the impact they have made on fashion,” Anderson said. “Through these individuals you can see perseverance, motivation and dedication. For me, instead of six degrees of separation, it is more like two degrees. I am so glad to see this group recognized for what they have done for the fashion world.”
This year's event saw two standing-room-only shows — at The Mall at Robinson and Tanger Outlets in Washington, Pa. Plans are in the works to have both venues return. The Senator John Heinz History Center, where shows have been the past three years, is a good candidate to be on board for 2013, organizers say.
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland, which hosted the opening-night show for 300-plus guests, could take part again.
“Pittsburgh needs a fashion week,” said Jodi Dague, general manager of Tanger Outlets. “We are not New York, but we are a major city, and I see lots of fashionable women and men shopping at Tanger Outlets. There are a lot of people here who care about fashion and who follow trends. I would love to be involved again.”
Shema Krinsky, marketing director for The Mall at Robinson, said the event was extremely successful and that she will consider being part of year four.
“Pittsburgh Fashion Week is a great addition to the city,” she said. “What Miyoshi is doing is wonderful, and it is working. She draws people to her, and they want to be part of this fashionable event.”
It has come a long, long way, said Dottie McAllise, Fashion Week business manager. She said Anderson and the staff have learned from past mistakes. Success requires good communication, dedicated volunteers and strong sponsorship, McAllise said.
“When you are leading a week-long event, there are always ways to improve and make it better,” she said. “You have to constantly be thinking ahead.”
Fashion Week is a wonderful event for Pittsburgh, said Emmy-award winning stylist David Zyla, author of “Color Your Style.” He was working on a project in the city and attended opening night.
“Every city should have a fashion week,” said Zyla, who has styled soap opera star Susan Lucci and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “It gives artists — and designers are artists — a way to express themselves. It gives them an outlet. And it generates energy and support for designers. Beauty is everywhere, and the organizers really did this opening show well. Having fashion weeks in each city is like tasting the cuisine of each city because each one is unique in its style.”
The week included everything from eco-chic to denim to a men's only show to petite and plus styles. For the first time, the event ventured into Washington, Pa., and featured a bridal-only show by Carrie Ann's Bridal Boutique in Canonsburg at one of the back-to-back runway shows.
Designer Paula Minydzak of West Mifflin, who was in one of the back-to-back shows, is considering returning, but most likely in a different capacity. She is working on a men's line, and says it might make more sense for her to join forces and be part of the men's show. Minydzak said things could have been more organized, but she is willing to help with next year's event because she wants to see it continue.
Saturday's nine hours of shows might have been condensed if several designers were paired in one time slot, said designer Lana Neumeyer.
“That way you get to see multiple designers at a time,” Neumeyer says. “And there isn't a lot of waiting between back-to-back shows.”
A native of Brazil, Neumeyer of O'Hara also suggests having some educational aspect, such as makeup application or the best way to incorporate hats into your wardrobe.
In conjunction with Saturday's runway shows was the vendors fair, where 17 booths featured everything from jewelry to clothing to photography. Even though the turnout was low, Joyce Rollins of Traci Lynn Jewelry says she plans to return.
“I look forward to this event every year,” she says. “It's a beautiful event, and I enjoy myself. I can't wait to come back next year.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop, a staff writer for Trib Total Media, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7889.
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