Style412 launches Showroom program to support emerging Pittsburgh fashion designers | Pittsburgh City Paper

Style412 launches Showroom program to support emerging Pittsburgh fashion designers

click to enlarge PHOTO: COURTESY OF STYLE412
Photo: Courtesy of Style412
It's been 10 years since the men's magazine GQ declared Pittsburgh among the worst-dressed cities in America (to add insult to injury, we were ranked third out of 40). Since then, however, the city has slowly begun to shed its "gameday casual" look with the help of local designers. Some of these producers of clothing and accessories will receive a boost from Style412, a nonprofit organization that champions “conscious fashion” and supports those working in the fashion industry here in Pittsburgh.

Style412 is launching a new program called Showroom, an online platform for emerging designers in the area. A press release touts the program as a "first of its kind project with the intention to set the stage for fashion designers who wish to thrive in Pittsburgh and better market their brands."

"Our goal is to create a space for fashion design and retail in our city and to attract fashion professionals by offering both buyers and the infrastructure necessary to support more fashion projects like these," reads a statement by Style412 vice-president Sara Longo.

The release goes on to say that Style412 was born out of a series of monthly discussions conducted by founder Elysia Newman back in 2017, all of which invited "perspectives from the Pittsburgh fashion community"  to explore the state of the city's current fashion ecosystem. In the end, Style412 claims that the discussions found that Pittsburgh needed a "go-to resource for fashion industry professionals who would cultivate emerging talent and support the existing."

click to enlarge PHOTO: COURTESY OF STYLE412
Photo: Courtesy of Style412
In 2018, a group of industry experts was elected as representatives of the fashion community, and the board is an all-female team.

Eight brands were selected to be part of Showroom's 10-week accelerator program, which includes weekly intensive workshops and tools to "evolve their brand." At the end of the accelerator, products from each brand will be made available in the online Showroom to showcase each designer's progress and offer a "curated go-to resource for buyers seeking local shopping options."

Among the chosen candidates is SilkDenim, a mother-daughter duo who reuse textiles and transform them into “fashion-forward garments.” These garments have gotten noticed by retailers like Urban Outfitters, and local boutiques and shops.

Other chosen clothing designers include Rabbit3, described as “refined streetwear” by Pittsburgh-based fashion designer Andre Jones, and PackPack, a children’s style brand focused on both beauty and functionality, as well as working with non-hazardous, non-toxic inks. There's also Social Living by artist Darrin Milliner, who employs powerful visuals and messaging like "Trans Rights" and "Power to the People" on unique fashion pieces.

Also featured is Otto Finn, a sustainable clothing brand run by Rona Chang. (Pittsburgh City Paper recently covered her collection of custom jackets made from recycled quilts and blankets.)

Accessories are covered by Selima Dawson of Blackbird Jewelry, Shannon Richardson of Sha’lari Couture, which focuses on leather handbags, and Djoi Designs by Florence Smith, who makes handcrafted leather goods and jewelry.

Showroom will officially launch on Mon., July 12. Apparel and accessories from the above designers will also be available for purchase at the Showroom website.