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RAW: Natural Born Artists helps serve up emerging fashion designers

| Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 6:13 p.m.
Carnegie Mellon University students Paulina Reyes of Austin Texas, Ying Lin of Waynesburg, and Josh Lopez-Binder from Albuquerque, N.M., created a fashion line called Biome. Reyes and Lin are architecture majors and Lopez-Binder is a mechanical engineering major. Their collection is based on using computational design. Biome explores the organic expressiveness of nature through digital modeling and fabrication. The line encompasses 10 wearable looks for both men and women, each one-of-a-kind pieces which evoke organic form through computational logic. It will be featured at Spectrum, an event hosted by RAW:Natural Born Artists which showcases up-and-coming designers and other artists April 24 at Club Zoo in the Strip District.

They most likely aren't names you know.

But they hope that changes one day.

These fashion designers will showcase their wares at “Spectrum,” hosted by RAW: Natural Born Artists, an organization, for artists, by artists at Club Zoo, Strip District, on April 24.

“RAW creates the creative platform for upcoming artists ranging from various avenues,” says Leigh Yock, showcase director and sponsorship coordinator. “It's an international community made up of creative individuals across the globe.”

The group's mission is to provide independent artists within the first 10 years of their career with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity.

RAW directors, operating in 60 cities, hand-pick and spotlight local artistic talent for a showcase at an evening of creativity, leading to the annual RAWards show in Hollywood in January.

“All designers are extremely diverse and have incredible talent,” Yock says.

Yock and her team discovered some designers at Carnegie Mellon University's annual fashion extravaganza Lunar Gala. Mureaux, for example, is created by CMU students Jacqueline Yeung and Shivani Jain.

“Creating this line was about learning how to work with fabric and sew and create patterns,” says Yeung, from Manhattan. “I am excited to see how far we can take it. It is a dream come true.”

Jain, of Bridgewater, N.J., says fashion has always been important to her. She started creating clothes for her dolls and extended her passion to altering her own clothes to make them fit better.

“The line Mureaux exemplifies form-fitting clothing,” Jain says. “My background in art has helped me understand the human form and extend my understanding toward the creation of clothing. The materials selection of Mureaux are rich in color and bold in attitude.”

Fellow CMU students Paulina Reyes of Austin, Ying Lin of Waynesburg and Josh Lopez-Binder of Albuquerque, N.M., created Biome.

Their line is based on using computational design. Biome explores the organic expressiveness of nature through digital modeling and fabrication. The line encompasses 10 wearable looks for men and women, each one-of-a-kind pieces which evoke organic form through computational logic.

“RAW sounds like a cool event,” Reyes says. “We are excited to get more exposure for the work we are doing. It's also fun to see the work other designers are doing. The important thing is to be able to do something outside our major. It is fun to see fashion produced by non-fashion majors.”

And by professors.

Todd Pinkham of Murrysville teaches art at California University of Pennsylvania. He paints limited-edition jackets, which he started doing only for himself until people showed an interest in them.

“RAW is a great organization,” he says. “It is a good way to create interest in the fashion designers and other artists.”

His company, Hyena, uses upcycled materials.

“Like my namesake, I am the perfect scavenger,” Pinkham says. “I hand-sew patches made from vintage T-shirts.”

Michelle Steele of the North Side is the founder of Unique Impression, a men's line. She teamed with visual artist Joktan Faulk of the North Side, who hand draws the designs.

“It's an extremely creative evening,” Steele says. “There are so many talented people in Pittsburgh. The arts are very important, and with some of the schools cutting-arts curriculum, it's an opportunity to experience several different mediums.”

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

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