Designer Days benefit boosts Pittsburgh's National Council of Jewish Women
By JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
Published: Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Shoppers browsing for a bargain get to help women during Designer Days, the biggest fundraiser of the year for Pittsburgh's National Council of Jewish Women.
The 43rd annual event — a four-day shopping extravaganza from Nov. 7 to 10 at the Monroeville Convention Center — raises money to support the council's new Center for Women and other projects, including clothing vouchers, children's rooms in the courts and the silent-witness initiative, which raises awareness about domestic violence.
“Money raised from Designer Days helps with everything from giving women training for, and clothing to wear at, a new job to helping them care for their children,” says Andrea Glickman, executive director, National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section. “They can come to us, and know it's a safe haven, and know that they are cared for. These programs aren't possible without Designer Days.”
The shopping adventure features gently worn — and new — designer and better brand clothing, shoes and accessories for women, men and children.
The event kicks off Nov. 7 with a patron party, titled “We've Come a Long Way, Ladies,” in recognition of the organization's 120th birthday.
New for the patron party are mini-boutiques from four Pittsburgh designers:
• Honorary chairwoman Kiya Tomlin and Kelly Lane, who create women's wear
• Sandra Cadavid, who makes high-end handbags and accessories
• Luxury shoe designer Emy Mack
“The Designer Days patron event is probably my favorite event of the year,” says Tomlin, wife of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. “Pouring through the racks, I get in the ‘zone' looking for clothing and accessories that inspire me.
“Personally, I love to alter and deconstruct items into something new, but all items are so current and in great condition that they can be worn as is.”
Sandra Cadavid CEO Yu-Ling Cheng Behr says the company shares the council's commitment to community.
“We employ women who are the victims of violence, abuse and poverty so that they can gain the skills and income necessary to turn around their lives and the well being of their families,” she says. “Similarly, NCJW works everyday to help people turn around their lives positively. We're proud to join them in this wonderful event.”
The patron party gives shoppers an early look at the merchandise, says Bear Brandegee, council board member and patron-party event chairwoman. “It's great to get a look at everything the first night.”
Racks of clothing and accessories fill the 24,000-square-feet of space at the convention center with items from designers including Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenberg, Nine West, Donald J. Pliner, Missoni, Jean Paul Gaultier, W by Worth, 7 For All Mankind, Tory Burch, Escada, St. John, Balenciaga, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Coach and Dolce & Gabbana.
“You never know what you are going to find,” Glickman says. “It's a place to find little gems while knowing you are helping someone else.”
“We are always looking to be involved in the community and help in any way we can,” says Jennifer Honig, a council board member. “Our organization is evolving with the changing needs of the community. It's all about making lives better and making women strong. The Center for Women is at the core of what we do. It's a critical piece of who we are.”
For year-round shopping, the council also runs The Designer Days Boutique in Squirrel Hill, and NCJW Home Consignments, a furniture-consignment store, and Thriftique, both in Swissvale.
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