Now with NFL football season in full swing, Pittsburgh’s fashion community will try to defeat the city’s sloppy sports enthusiast image with the second annual Pittsburgh Fashion Week. Founded by Pittsburgh native Miyoshi Anderson, PFW executive director, the second installment of the groundbreaking event aims to shed light on a group of the city’s most talented designers, models and photographers who work collectively to put Pittsburgh fashion on the map.
“Over the past decade things have been happening in Pittsburgh’s fashion industry, but it was suppressed for a while. I commend all of the organizations that have had continued fashion events and I think Pittsburgh Fashion Week will encourage those in the industry to push farther, to kick it up a notch,” Anderson said. “When you have fire under your feet, it will push you to do bigger and better things. I think Pittsburgh Fashion Week is inspiring Pittsburgh models and designers to show what they can do.”
As an actress, spokesmodel, and fashion model, Anderson’s experience in the fashion industry spans more than a decade. The idea for PFW was conceived with the help of fellow Pittsburgh fashion legend LaMont Jones, former fashion writer for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and current editor-in-chief of TheStyleArbiter.com.
“Everything takes dedication and perseverance. Nothing comes easy. Pittsburgh Fashion Week is a large undertaking. It was a passion in my heart and it was something that was needed in Pittsburgh,” Anderson said. “To the African-American community I would just say to continue those passions and those dreams. It sets the tone for the talent we have in our community.”
In contrast to industry fashion week protocol, where shows serve to preview collections a full season in advance for prospective buyers, PFW highlights fall fashions and accessories available at the city’s local boutiques, specialty stores, department stores, and consignment and off-price stores.
This year’s event opened on Sept. 26 with “Under the Tent at Market Square,” a show featuring designs from Doncaster, a Downtown boutique. PFW’s events continued on Sept. 27 with the “ManStyle” show at the Heinz History Center.
“The first year we had to lay a lot of groundwork, which we are still laying groundwork for this year but some of that foundation has already been laid,” Anderson said. “Last year we did not do a men’s style fashion show and this year we are. That’s actually one of my specialty fashion shows because through out my career I’ve never seen a men’s fashion show.”
The proceeds from the week’s various shows will go to benefit a number of different charities. However, this year’s main beneficiary is the American Heart Association.
“We are working with a different charity. I always thought about working with the American Heart Association so I think it’s wonderful I got a chance to work with them,” Anderson said. “They wanted to do a traveling display where we would have one designer or a couple designers do a dress that would be a travelling display Downtown. We had a designer from the Art Institute design a red gown that will be auctioned off at the end of the night.”
PFW also gives back the community through its partnership with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Through their involvement as volunteers, local students are exposed to a behind the scenes look at the fashion industry.
“We want everyone to have an opportunity to train in all areas. This year going in everyone has had a chance to train in different areas,” Anderson said. “I hope that it will continually set the tone in that there are opportunities for all.”