ShareThis Page
Fashion

'Fashioning the Future' puts students in spotlight

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, 1:33 a.m.

Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh rolled out the red carpet for some up-and-coming fashion designers this month.

Junior high and high school students got lessons in the fashion industry from prominent area designers Nisha Blackwell of Knotzland and David Alan of David Alan Clothing . The two shared insights on what it takes to be a successful fashion design entrepreneur at “Fashioning the Future.”

Students represented the Braddock Youth Project, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild and Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education. The event was coordinated by the Center for Inclusive Excellence at the university through a grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation via the Scott Fund, the Emil Winter Family Trust and the Lewis H. and Jess Morgan Kelly Fund.

Sharing their stories

Alan’s company creates custom high-end clothing that is tailored to a person’s body and designed with the individual in mind. David Alan Clothing offers three-piece suits, fitted dress shirts, sports coats and pants for men and is expanding to include a women’s line.

The business began as “Proper Knot,” a necktie accessory which is a stylized covering for the knot of a man’s tie that allows the wearer to add color or variety to an outfit.

“There was a void in the marketplace and I thought if I could create a piece that would make the necktie different, that would do well,” he said. “So I bought some fabric and a sewing machine and made them.”

Alan talked about seeing challenges as storms. He said some were like a light rain, others were stronger like a thunderstorm and still others like a tsunami. Some had fierce winds. Others were calm. But they all had one thing in common.

“They didn’t last forever,” he said. “They all ended at some point just like real weather storms. You have to be able to endure tough times and trust yourself and your vision for your company.”

“When you say you are going to do something, do it,” Alan said. “Treat people with respect. Most people are good people and want you to be successful. I have zero regrets. I love people who work hard and who hustle. Dream as big as you can, and go for it. There were people who helped me, so I want to pay it forward and help these young people.”

Blackwell, from Homewood, had just been laid off from a job and was invited to a birthday party for her friend’s daughter. With limited funds, Blackwell saw a bag of clothes she was going to give away and made a hair bow for the little girl. That day, she got six orders for hair bows and from there was asked to make men’s bow ties. Her business became known as Knotzland . She repurposes materials to create formal, casual and wedding bow ties. Blackwell learned how to make them by watching YouTube videos.

The reaction

Being able to listen to and meet successful designers was a wonderful experience, said Rasaun Brown, who was there with the Braddock Youth Project. He started his own company Cash Flow Clothing WorldWide which has T-shirts and jackets and other accessories.

“This was a fun day,” said Florence Uwizeye, of the Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education. “I have always liked fashion and making things. The speakers were great and being able to actually make something with advice from them made the experience even more worthwhile.”

JoAnne Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062 or jharrop@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.

A model walks the runway at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh.Middle and high school students attended talks by Pittsburgh entrepreneurs David Alan and Nisha Blackwell. The teens then had a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse that a model would wear in a fashion show.
A model walks the runway at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh.Middle and high school students attended talks by Pittsburgh entrepreneurs David Alan and Nisha Blackwell. The teens then had a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse that a model would wear in a fashion show.
Student Rico Halliburton cuts the hem of a skirt for a garment at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. He and other teens attended talks by Pittsburgh entrepreneurs David Alan and Nisha Blackwell and then had a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse that a model would wear in a fashion show.
Student Rico Halliburton cuts the hem of a skirt for a garment at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. He and other teens attended talks by Pittsburgh entrepreneurs David Alan and Nisha Blackwell and then had a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse that a model would wear in a fashion show.
Students work on garmens at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. The teens attended talks by Pittsburgh entrepreneurs David Alan and Nisha Blackwell and then had a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse that a model would wear in a fashion show.
Students work on garmens at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. The teens attended talks by Pittsburgh entrepreneurs David Alan and Nisha Blackwell and then had a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse that a model would wear in a fashion show.
A group of students along with a team leader work on a garment at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. They attended talks by Pittsburgh entrepreneurs David Alan and Nisha Blackwell and then had a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse that a model would wear in a fashion show.
A group of students along with a team leader work on a garment at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. They attended talks by Pittsburgh entrepreneurs David Alan and Nisha Blackwell and then had a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse that a model would wear in a fashion show.
Entrepreneur David Alan (left) talks with student Rasuan Brown at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. Alan and fellow Pittsburgh business owner Nisha Blackwell talked to the teens about their journeys as business owners and then guided attendees through a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse. Brown has started his own clothing company and said talking with Alan and Blackwell was “an amazing experience.”
Entrepreneur David Alan (left) talks with student Rasuan Brown at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. Alan and fellow Pittsburgh business owner Nisha Blackwell talked to the teens about their journeys as business owners and then guided attendees through a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse. Brown has started his own clothing company and said talking with Alan and Blackwell was “an amazing experience.”
Entrepreneur Nisha Blackwell (left) oversees middle and high school students at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. Prior she and another by designer David Alan talked to the teens about their journeys as business owners and then guided attendees through a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.
Entrepreneur Nisha Blackwell (left) oversees middle and high school students at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. Prior she and another by designer David Alan talked to the teens about their journeys as business owners and then guided attendees through a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.
Entrepreneur David Alan adresses middle and high school students at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. After his talk and another by designer Nisha Blackwell, the teens were guided through a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.
Entrepreneur David Alan adresses middle and high school students at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. After his talk and another by designer Nisha Blackwell, the teens were guided through a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.
Models strike a pose at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. Students attended a talk by local designers and were guided through a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.
Models strike a pose at the Fashioning for the Future event held at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh. Students attended a talk by local designers and were guided through a hands-on experience to create a garment from repurposed items from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me