Pittsburgh Fashion Week designer: ‘You can never have enough rhinestones’ | TribLIVE.com
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Pittsburgh Fashion Week designer: ‘You can never have enough rhinestones’

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
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JoAnne Klimovich Harrop / Tribune-Review
Jamie Miller, of Swisshelm Park, will be one of the 10 designers featured at the Pittsburgh Fashion Week Runway Show on Thursday.
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JoAnne Klimovich Harrop / Tribune-Review
Jamie Miller, of Swisshelm Park, will be one of the 10 designers featured at the Pittsburgh Fashion Week Runway Show on Thursday. Miller often sketches her ideas while sitting on the front porch of her studio in Verona.
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JoAnne Klimovich Harrop / Tribune-Review
Jamie Miller, of Swisshelm Park, will be one of the 10 designers featured at the Pittsburgh Fashion Week Runway Show on Thursday. Miller hand sews every garment and uses colorful materials in every piece.
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JoAnne Klimovich Harrop / Tribune-Review
Jamie Miller, of Swisshelm Park who grew up in Verona, will be one of the 10 designers featured at the Pittsburgh Fashion Week Runway Show on Thursday. Miller hand sews every garment.

When Jamie Miller was in the seventh grade, she wanted bell-bottom pants. She took a pair of jeans and cut the legs, adding fabric with images of moons and stars to create the wide-leg look.

“I have always loved fashion,” said Miller, one of 10 designers whose collection will be showcased in Pittsburgh Fashion Week’s Runway Fashion Show at 8 p.m. Thursday at Wintergarden at PPG Place, Downtown Pittsburgh. “I wanted those bell bottoms so much — so I made them. I love how they moved when I walk because I love how fabric moves on a body. I have always loved to sew. If I had both arms cut off, I’d teach myself to sew with my feet. Sewing is absolutely my passion. I feel so fortunate to use my talents and share that with joy with people.”

This week marks her first time participating in fashion week, but she has been part of other shows like the Garbage Bag Gala and Lupus Foundation event.

“My roots are so deep in Pittsburgh,” said Miller, 36, of Swisshelm Park. ”I love this city and I am so excited for people to see this fashion show. It will show that fashion is flourishing in Pittsburgh. It will get the city recognized.”

Miller said her style is old school. She often sits on the porch of her studio in Verona, her hometown, and sketches designs. She makes her own patterns and sews everything from scratch.

She refers to her work as zero-waste. She saves edges of ribbons, pieces of fabric, leftover sequins. She will find other uses for them in future clothing items. For this show she designed 16 pieces, which will be available for sale. She plans to launch a line this month inspired by the fashion show collection.

Miller’s line reminds Fashion Week creative director Katherine DelGrande of the 19th century, with elements ranging from the early 1900s all the way to the 1940s.

“That’s what I love about it,” DelGrande said. “Over this time period, women were becoming independent and getting their right to vote. The designs definitely celebrate women, their empowerment, their sensuality and beauty over lifetimes. It’s a flashback of history. Jamie is spot on with trends right now. It’s been amazing to watch her liberate women with her collection.”

Miller also creates custom pieces for clients. She’s worked in theaters making costumes and has designed ballroom costumes for competitions. Her ambition is to make modern-day dance costumes.

“You can never have enough rhinestones,” Miller said. “There should always be more. I love over-the-top embellishments.”

Meeting the other designers has been wonderful, she said, because she enjoys seeing their styles and learning their processes. She appreciates that the show is about inclusivity and diversity, with everyone represented on the runway.

Miller is using models in sizes 2-14.

“They are all so beautiful,” she said. “My mission is for women, no matter what shape or size, to feel radiant. And when they do, joy comes out and that’s contagious.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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