Fashion Week Downtown: My Night in "Stories"

Throughout my college years, one Pittsburgh event I always looked forward too was Fashion Week. So back in April when I first read how the annual Pittsburgh Fashion Week was cancelled this year, after six consecutive years, I was a bit crushed. However, my hope was restored in June when I began hearing buzz on social media about a new fashion event that was coming to downtown this fall: Fashion Week Downtown. 

About The Event

The event itself was held at the Union Trust Building on Grant Street and was organized by the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation (PDCDC) who partnered with Social Butterfly Magazine. The main man behind the idea though was John Valentine, the corporation's executive director. Mr. Valentine, much like the rest of the Pittsburgh fashion community, was sad to hear about Pittsburgh Fashion Week's hiatus. Due to the fact the fashion industry is an important part of the Pittsburgh art and business community, he couldn't just let a year go buy without a proper fashion event. So Mr. Valentine, the PDCDC and Social Butterfly Magazine came up with Fashion Week Downtown to keep the fashion culture here alive this year. And that's exactly what it did.

VIPs mingle before Fashion Week Downtown in the lounge of the Union Trust Building. 

VIPs mingle before Fashion Week Downtown in the lounge of the Union Trust Building. 

Resident artist at The Space Upstairs mid opening performance.

Resident artist at The Space Upstairs mid opening performance.

The event, which the PDCDC team only had a few months to plan, had an amazing turn out of roughly 500 guests, and the tickets for the event completely sold out 6 weeks prior to the event. The event also featured exclusive appetizers catered by Union Standard as well as a complimentary signature cocktail for the VIPs, as well as a cash bar for the general admissions. The runway show itself featured a special performance by Pearlann Porter & the Resident Artists at The Space Upstairs. The performance title "Jazz Couture" consisted of 3 (very different but simultaneous) contemporary dance performances set to improvisational jazz on the runway. Next Elena LaQuatra (the Reigning Miss Pennsylvania USA) announced the brands and their designers, which there were 13 of, along with 50 beautiful outfits and models! Awesome right?

Runway model, Joanna Wentling, modeling gown by designer Brian David (Instagram, Facebook). Fun Fact: Brian and I have been in contact since the show and we are in the process of planning a collaboration! More details coming soon.

Runway model, Joanna Wentling, modeling gown by designer Brian David (Instagram, Facebook).

Fun Fact: Brian and I have been in contact since the show and we are in the process of planning a collaboration! More details coming soon.

My How I ended up in the VIPs

My seat at the runway compliments of Social Butterfly Magazine. 

My seat at the runway compliments of Social Butterfly Magazine

So, now that I've got you caught up on all the details, you're probably wondering how I got to attend due to the tickets selling out so quickly. Well lucky for me, a friend of mine from college, Jeanette Shustack, works as a graphic designer and staff photographer for the local publication Social Butterfly Magazine. The magazine was covering the event as well as working with the PDCDC. So when Jeanette heard that they needed some staff volunteers to help with the set up the runway and possibly double as press for the show, she reached out to me and a few others via Facebook. Obviously, I eagerly accepted due to my love of Pittsburgh and the fashion industry in general, but I would be crazy to not jump at the chance to be a VIP at a fashion show!

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My First Fashion Show Experience + All of the Snaps

So after running around and feeling like Andrea Sachs all day, (But with a much kinder boss than Miranda Priestly of course!) 6 o'clock came and I got to take behind the scenes photos of the event, eat some delicious food, and chit-chat with some fabulous members of the Pittsburgh fashion community. And of course, this was all uploaded to my Story on Instagram, which has changed since the show. However, due to the nature of the event I decided it would be fun to do something new and leave you a slide show of some of my snaps from the evening. Featuring a few of the awesome shots I got sitting two feet from the runway (Thanks again Jeanette & Social Butterfly Magazine!) as well as some of my just for fun behind the scenes shots. Enjoy! 

Wanna check out all of the designers from the show? Take a look: Alana Yoffee, TK Fashion Design, Hollywood Glam!, Ruby Dawn Designs, Suz Pisano, Leesa Kassler, ProBantuStyle, S.Moye' Fashions, Sofiya Mozley Fashion, Bradford Mumpower, Brian David, Faith-n-Khaos, and James Houk Design.

In closing, I just have to say I had an absolute blast and am still so grateful I was invited to this awesome event! A special thanks to Jeanette & the rest of Social Butterfly Magazine, as well as Renee, Kari, and John from the PDCDC! I hope to see you all at Fashion Week Downtown next year.

So, what do you think of Pittsburgh's new Fashion Week Downtown? Any favorite outfits from the runway? Let's chat about it in the comments below!

Xx, Bree