Stylebook snapshot: Style Week Pittsburgh to showcase more than just fashion in fourth year – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

When Style Week Pittsburgh returns this week, it’s got much more than ritzy receptions and runway shows lined up.

Now in its fourth year, the multiday event plans to salute the city’s bustling arts and culture scene through events that not only spotlight Pittsburgh-based fashion designers but also artists, musicians and other kinds of entrepreneurs.

“We’re very much defining what is distinct about Style Week, and it’s always been about bringing diverse persons together and giving a platform to showcase the best that Pittsburgh has to offer,” says founder Wadria Taylor.

Festivities kick off Thursday in the Carnegie Museum of Art’s music hall foyer in Oakland with Freestyle, an exploration of the women’s rights movement through fashion and photography. Garments from the 1920s and ’60s will be on display, alongside photographs by Charles “Teenie” Harris, who photographed Pittsburgh’s African-American community from 1935 to 1975. There also will be a fashion show with looks by James Houk and Leesa Kassler inspired by the styles of the ’20s and ’60s. Opening night coincides with the museum’s Third Thursdays series, so the night will cap with a dance party in the courtyard.

“It’s really right on with what’s happening in society,” Ms. Taylor says, referring to the historic presidential nomination of Hillary Clinton. The goal of the event is to look at fashion through a lens of history and empowerment.

On Friday, the annual Style Awards will celebrate the achievements of some of the city’s key influencers in fashion, beauty and the arts. In previous years, the public selected the nominees and a panel of Style Week Pittsburgh ambassadors chose the winners. This time, the entire process was decided through online voting, Ms. Taylor says.

The action moves to the Ace Hotel in East Liberty on Saturday for Energy, a night of band performances, a DJ and artist Sarah Zeffiro doing live paintings and body art on models. Local artisans and street-wear shop Social Status will be part of a pop-up vendors’ market, too. Style Week Pittsburgh will wrap next Sunday at Revel + Roost restaurant near Market Square with ArtFUL brunch. The gathering will foster discussion about the city’s fashion and arts community and ways to increase innovation, collaboration and diversity.

Style Week Pittsburgh unfolds amid a time of change in the city’s fashion landscape. Earlier this year, Pittsburgh Fashion Week — which longtime model Miyoshi Anderson debuted in 2010 — announced it would take the year off, with hopes of returning in 2017. In its absence, the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corp. and Social Butterfly Magazine next month will hold Fashion Week Downtown, an evening of runway shows in the Union Trust Building to promote fashion in the Golden Triangle.

Meanwhile, Ms. Taylor remains focused on what she’s always considered the mission of Style Week Pittsburgh — to highlight the hidden gems of Pittsburgh, she says — and fresh ways to make it happen. She’s in the process of turning Style Week into a nonprofit initiative.

“I want to expand and enlarge,” she says. “Becoming a nonprofit will allow me to focus more on programming and going a lot deeper with ways that I’m able to create a bigger platform for the talent that’s here in Pittsburgh.”

For instance, she envisions holding smaller functions and networking opportunities throughout the year to supplement Style Week Pittsburgh’s annual August events.

“I look forward to seeing more support for all of the different vehicles that are here that are all about really wanting to see Pittsburgh become the best city that it can possibly be,” Ms. Taylor says.

Sara Bauknecht: For updates from Style Week Pittsburgh, follow Post-Gazette style editor Sara Bauknecht on Twitter and Instagram @SaraB_PG or on the PG’s fashion blog Stylebook at 


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