When you think of Pittsburgh, you might not necessarily think of fashion; The place is much more known as a university city or steel town. Which is why you may be surprised to learn I spent last week in Pensilveyna for #PGHFW, or Pittsburgh Fashion Week. The event was organized by Style 412, a not-for-profit on a mission to connect and develop the fashion industry in Pittsburgh, in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Partnership.
While fashion may not be the city’s strong suit, there are many entrepreneurs and startups who would like to cultivate more of an ecosystem. And, with the location’s strong roots in healthcare, there’s the opportunity for advancing the research and development of wearable technology. In fact, one of the main sponsors for the week was the Magee-Women’s Research Institute, which I learned is the largest research facility devoted to women’s health in North America.
The week kicked off with an opening party Monday night followed by a panel talk on the future of fashion on Wednesday night. I was honoured to sit on the panel alongside Gemma Sole, COO and co-founder of Nineteenth Amendment, as well as Dee Schlotter, Senior Marketing Manager of PPG Industries.
For those who don’t know, Nineteenth Amendment is a product development platform helping brands produce sustainably and on-demand with no minimums. They combine fashion with technology to enable designers both small and large to increase their speed-to-market and reduce inventory with their software for fast-turn production and retailing.
PPG, a global supplier of paints, coatings, and specialty materials, may seem like an odd fit for a fashion panel, but, as Dee explained, there are many connections between the company and fashion. For example, PPG looks at what’s being shown on the runway to understand which trends will emerge in home decor and interior design.
The week closed with a runway show on Thursday night at the Wintergarden, an all-glass garden environment that’s just next to the city’s famous Market Square. The designer lineup included Andre Jones, Anna Lemley, Bernice Yu, Elaine Healy X King Reld, Lauria Pascuzzi, Mad Recital, and Oona Natesan. Because of their collaborations with Nineteenth Amendment, many of the designers were able to sell directly from the runway.
Electric Runway’s presence was covered by Trib Live as well as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Thanks for having us, Pittsburgh! Stay tuned for our podcast and vlog bringing you inside Pittsburgh Fashion Week.