Pittsburgh Fashion Week 2014 opens to sold-out crowd in South Side
Pittsburgh Fashion Week opened its fifth year on Sept. 22 with a sold-out, standing-room only crowd of over 300 at Highmark Stadium on the South Side.
Six designers showcased a range of style, from vintage-inspired suits to neon dresses, from animal prints to formal wedding gowns. Some pieces literally brightened the 92-foot runway at “The O.N.E. Opening Night Extravaganza” with LED lighting incorporated into the designs.
Brian David led the Designer's Showcase event with 17 looks. The Peters, Washington County, resident creates vintage-styled clothing for the modern woman. This is David's third year participating in Fashion Week, running through Sept. 28. His pieces include pencil skirts, wide brim hats, fur stoles and structured handbags.
“I love vintage because a woman is supposed to have curves and show her curves and I believe my line shows off a woman's shape, “ David said. “I enjoy seeing other designer's lines as well. It was fun tonight, even with our little music interruption.”
Toward the end of his show, there were some technical difficulties with the music, but the models kept going without the benefit of the soundtrack.
“We discuss things like that,” David said. “Anything can happen so you have to keep on going like nothing went wrong. I was proud our models kept on walking. And the crowd helped, too, applauding to fill in for the silence.”
Next up on the runway was the collection of Exotic Hush, designed by Shawna Solomon.
Rashida Thomas of Sheda's Fashions was next followed by Starr Thomas of Fusionista and Dawn Surgest of RubyDawn Designs. Faith Pongracz Valez of Faith N' Khaos rounded out the evening.
Starr Thomas of North Braddock fuses together art and fashion for her line Fusionista. Many of her 16 custom pieces on the runway were hand painted.
“I was a little nervous,” said Starr Thomas, wearing a gold knit dress she designed. “Because you rehearse, but you never know how it is going to go. But everything was wonderful.”
Pongracz Valez, a Pittsburgh native who lives in New York, said she loves being the finale. Her head-to-toe collection was called “Dead Sugar.” She used lots of recycled plastics. Her designs are considered avant garde.
“I love the drama,” Pongracz Valez said. “I know I am over the top. This collection was inspired by something pretty against something punk. I love using unexpected materials with something pretty.”
The week will feature more than 300 models and 25 designers, the most in the event's history. Opening night was just the beginning of seven days of style.
Executive director Miyoshi Anderson said she was impressed with the quality of the clothing down to the stitching inside each garment. She says Pittsburgh has many talented designers who will be showcased throughout the week and that opening night was just the beginning.
“It was an amazing evening ,” Anderson said. “It all came together nicely and the feedback I received was all positive. And there is so much more to come, Pittsburgh.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7889.