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Pittsburgh shows its style with Fashion Week events

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, 9:20 p.m.
Miyoshi Anderson prepares for Pittsburgh Fashion Week at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland Sunday September 23, 2012.
(Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)
Miyoshi Anderson prepares for Pittsburgh Fashion Week at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland Sunday September 23, 2012. (Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)
Designer Mary Margaret Stewart (left) and model Alexandria Deitz look over a rack of clothes as they prepare for Pittsburgh Fashion Week at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland Sunday September 23, 2012.
(Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)
Designer Mary Margaret Stewart (left) and model Alexandria Deitz look over a rack of clothes as they prepare for Pittsburgh Fashion Week at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland Sunday September 23, 2012. (Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)

Just as she has so many times on a runway, Miyoshi Anderson continues to put one foot in front of the other in her quest to continue to offer more style to Pittsburgh.

As executive director of Pittsburgh Fashion Week, Anderson says year 3 of fashion week is going to be bigger and more chic than ever.

The weeklong event opens at 7 p.m. Monday with “The O.N.E., Opening Night Extravaganza: Green is the New Black” at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland.

In addition to the eco-chic show, the week will provide catwalks full of everything from a menswear event, to fashion shows at The Mall at Robinson and Tanger Outlets to Saturday's full day of back-to-back runway shows. The week will be capped off Sunday with the Hall of Fame luncheon.

“I feel like it has grown,” says Anderson. “I am always doing verbal surveys, and people certainly know more about it than the first year. But I know we still have a lot to do and a lot more people to reach. More steps to take.”

Anderson has felt a positive impact. For the first time since its inception, she had to turn some people away, from designers to volunteers to vendors. The response for Saturday's Vendor Fair was so great, there will need to be tables set in the hallway. And not as many people waited to the last minute to come on board, Anderson says.

“I feel bad because I want everyone to be a part of Pittsburgh Fashion Week,” she says. “But there are only so many spots available. So, having more people want to be a part of it, that's a good problem to have.”

Anderson admits she and her team have made mistakes in the past, but are continually learning from those miscues. Her vision continues to be one that includes Pittsburgh Fashion Week as an anticipated annual event.

“I feel that Pittsburgh Fashion Week can assist in a small way and have an impactful way of helping to revitalize the city of Pittsburgh,” she says. “We all wear clothing and want to look good. I have always said that Pittsburgh has fashionable people and has a style all its own. Pittsburgh Fashion Week is a way give Pittsburghers a chance to see what's new in fashion.”

Anderson says when she took on this undertaking, she knew most of the boutiques, but was not as familiar will all of the talented designers.

“I knew a handful of designers, but once I started this, they literally came out of the hills of Pittsburgh,” she says. “There is so much talent here. And I hope to help spark a fire under their seats to encourage them to continue and move forward in their craft because they are so talented. One of the best parts of fashion week is seeing shows come to fruition. Being part of a fashion show is not always easy, and sometimes, participants are eager, but a little anxious, about how their fashions are going to be perceived.”

The Mall at Robinson hosted a show the first year at Senator John Heinz History Center in the Strip District and last year at the mall.

“From year one to year two, our attendance has doubled, and we are expecting this year to be even bigger,” says Shema Krinsky, marketing director for The Mall at Robinson.

Krinsky says they have already sold 200 tickets for the Wednesday show and that, with the work of Anderson and her team, the event has grown each year with more interest coming from businesses who want to be a part of the event.

“I think it is so important to have an event like this because it is part of showing people another side to Pittsburgh being one of the most livable cities and that great fashion is more than just Steelers gear,” Krinsky says. “It has been Miyoshi's vision to bring together like-minded people interested in fashion, and she continues to do just that.”

The Heinz History Center will host for a third year, the second for the ManStyle show.

“The first year, while it was a novel concept, it had a really good following,” says Ned Schano, director of communications for the history center. “It has been well-received the past two years, and, this year, the men's show will be even bigger and better. We expect a couple hundred people. I think it is wonderful that there is a major fashion event in town, and it helps accentuate the style of Pittsburgh and helps people recognize fashion. There is so much fun in fashion, with lively colors which help bring the history center to life. Miyoshi has some really creative ideas.”

This will be the first time for C. Brown Custom Clothiers, which will be in the ManStyle show and one of the back-to-back events. Cousins Carly Brown and Corey Brown are the owners.

“As soon as we heard about it, we wanted to be part of it,” Carly Brown says. “I have had the opportunity to meet so many people I never would have met if it weren't for fashion week. I couldn't believe it when Miyoshi told me that Pittsburgh was named as one of the worst-dressed cities. I don't agree.”

Neither does Lana Neumeyer, a Brazilian designer from O'Hara who has been a participant all three years, including opening night.

“There is a difference from year one to now,” says Neumeyer. “I was at the Rite Aid buying a paper, and the cashier knew about Pittsburgh Fashion Week. Because before, when you asked a lot of people, they didn't know what you were talking about. I remember the first year, I wasn't sure who was going to come to the show or if many people were going to come, but, this year, I know people will come because there has been talk about it.

“Pittsburgh needs its own fashion week. Pittsburgh is a fashionable city. Just look around.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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