CP Photo: Tereneh Idia
Pittsburgh artist and designer Leah Patgorski
Plants, gardening, running
Clothes Make featured guests get to select where they are photographed, what made you pick Morningside’s Lock & Dam Dog Shop?
I picked Lock & Dam Dog Shop
because it's one of the few places where you can get lunch by the river. The burgers are great, and they have one of these viewfinder binoculars, like we're at Niagara Falls.
Tell me about your style. How would you describe your style, and who are your style icons?
I like to keep it simple and comfortable, and wear natural fibers and vintage as much as I can. I've been hitting thrift stores since I got my driver's license at 16. At that time, my friends and I thought Kim Gordon was the coolest.
We are very close to the Pittsburgh Zoo, and you kinda look like a cool safari guide. Tell me about this shirt.
I got this shirt at a secondhand sale in Charlottesville, around 2004. I like how it has some authority, but it's mostly playful. I feel like I'm going to accomplish something.
In the past few Clothes Make articles, people have bought new shoes. But you have a pair that look, well, not so new. I love them, what is the story here?
These shoes are about five or six years old. I have become so attached to them, and, unfortunately, Volcom doesn't make these any more. I tried ordering some as a replacement a couple of years ago, but the website turned out to be fake, and they sent me incorrect and inferior shoes. More recently, I snagged a cream-colored pair on eBay, but they are the men’s version. I plan to dye those black. It's hard to find a good, anonymous canvas shoe.
The bracelet is cool, did you make it? Do you make jewelry often?
Thanks. I made it. I haven't done much jewelry, but almost all that I made was wristbands and bracelets. It's like I'm adorning my left hand with my right hand.
I also love the pop of the red belt, I think belts are overlooked. In fact, camel/tan and red are one of the best color combinations in my opinion. Has your work as a textile artist shaped or changed the way you dress? Do you ever make your own clothes?
Working with textiles makes me appreciate fibers and details more, but not so much that my work matches my wardrobe. I have made a few items from scratch; for instance, one time I made matching skirts for my sister and I for a party. But, as you know, it can take a whole day to make a single pair of pants! I'm more likely to be altering something I already own. I have a lot of cool altered skirts for someone who doesn't often wear skirts. Hmm ...
Do you dress differently for your various roles?
Unless I'm dusty from working on the floor or gardening, I don't change much from day to evening. Pittsburgh has made me more casual. Back when I lived in Chicago, there was more of a need to go home and dress up. That was fun, but now I'm spoiled in reverse.
Do you have a gift that you gave to yourself that you're wearing now?
This handmade leather bag was a gift to myself. I'll probably have it on my shoulder when we're out here five years from now.
Do you have a gift from someone else that you’re wearing now, or often wear?
Well, in a way, this red belt. Years ago, my mom had a shop she liked called Dobson's, which was in Suffolk, Virginia. She enjoyed buying gifts from there, and once, she told me to pick something I liked. This was my pick. Another time she brought me some pink ruffled pajama pants from Dobson's. Those will never see the light of day, or night.
What are you excited about that is upcoming in September? This autumn?
I'm excited to see art shows like Jacolby Satterwhite at the Miller ICA and Femme Touch
at The Warhol. Before winter comes, I'd really like to get some roller skates and go to the Velodrome.