Downtown Community Development Corporation | (412) 235-7263 |
100 Fifth Ave, Suite 614
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

In this Issue:
Ethically Produced Downtown - Wendy Downs Moop Shop

Style Up Close
Watch While You Shop by Wendy Downs Moop Shop

After twelve years of business, Wendy Downs of Moop Shop is creating new designs for her signature leather bag right in her store. As a graduate student studying photography and sculpture, Downs needed a sturdy bag to carry everything around with her. Instead of shopping for one, she made it herself. "I didn't have any background in sewing or even textile design. I had been making some props for photographs I was staging and putting things through a sewing I just stitched up the sides on a bag and went from there," she says.

Visitors can still go to Moop Shop's downtown location at 429 First Avenue and see Downs working away at a sewing machine, although most of their business is done online on their website . "We don't do any marketing around the storefront space [because] we are so busy keeping up with daily production," she explains. The choice to open up a store, rather than just have a closed off manufacturing space and sell on the web, was made because Downs believes that "no matter where you are in the world, something people care about is ethical manufacturing and that's very important to our business". However, the store's stock varies from day to day, and consists of whatever hasn't been shipped out for online purchases.

Moop Shop's latest creation is a leather phone wallet, available in leather or merino wool felt, a superdense industrial wool felt with great shock absorbency making it great for pairing with electronics. In addition, Moop carries a range of products which Downs and her colleagues think go great with their bags and that they use on a daily basis. She puts emphasis on the new Turkish woven bag blankets - "lightweight but dense enough that you can use it as a towel or a picnic or beach blanket". Other accessories include notebooks, skincare products, perfumes, candles, mugs, and greeting cards.
Chanel Invests In a Green Chemistry Firm

Chanel has bought a minority stake in Evolved by Nature, a Boston-based green chemistry firm working to use silk as a replacement for toxic chemicals used in clothing. These silk-based alternatives could replace chemicals in high-performance fabrics, or even do something as small as reduce pilling in cashmere. M any brands continue to use chemicals in clothing due to a lack of alternatives.

5 Fashion Podcasts to Follow

Podcasts are the perfect way to pass the time; whether it be during that long morning commute, or during your summer cross-country roadtrip. Luckily for those aspiring fashionistas, or those simply interested in the industry, there is a wide variety of fashion podcasts to keep you feeling trendy. We have selected five podcasts to follow to help quench your thirst for fashion.

Hosted by Charles Beckwith and Cathy Schepis, this weekly interview series provides the behind-the-scenes of how the fashion industry works. Going in-depth into many industry niches, American Fashion Podcast also explores how the fashion industry is changing. Perfect for a fashion-newbie, this crash-course in fashion heavily features topics regarding ethics and sustainability. It has also featured interviews with industry legends, such as American designer Donna Karan and Indian American designer Naeem Khan, who has designed gowns for the likes of Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton.

For those who are more interested in high-fashion, the name Vogue comes directly to mind. The iconic fashion magazine hosts a podcast by fashion journalist and former American editor-at-large André Leon Talley. Vogue Podcast covers everything from the hottest fashion trends to what the people in Vogue 's offices are talking about over the water cooler. Hosting a slew of celebrity guests, this podcast is sure to capture the ears of those wishing to hear from some of the best-known figures in fashion.

For a more down-to-Earth and socially concerned look at fashion, listeners can turn to The Cutting Room Floor. Hosted by emerging designer Recho Omondi, the podcast examines the issues related to the fashion industry, from lack of diversity to the relevance of fashion criticism in 2019. This podcast is perfect for those who are more interested in the socio-political side of fashion. Despite being an emerging face, Omondi has managed to host high-profile guests such as Diet Prada and Alexander Wang's chief strategist Stephanie Horton.

This daily podcast has been described as the "required reading" of the fashion industry. An ideal informational resource for fashion creatives, executives and entrepreneurs, this podcast covers fashion from all angles. The Business of Fashion pays particular interest to the culture surrounding the industry. It also provides exclusive interviews with industry bigwigs, such as fashion critic Tim Blanks and Kim Kardashian West.

For any history buffs out there, Dressed: The History of Fashion is sure to satisfy your craving for both fashion and historical stories. Hosted by April Calahan and Cassidy Zachery, both veterans in the fields of fashion and history, this podcast explores the complex and vibrant history behind the clothes we wear. Some episodes even include suggested readings, for those more intellectual listeners who'd be interested in taking a deeper dive. Episodes cover everything from how high heels evolved from the male cavalry to a symbol of irrational femininity, to origins of fake fashion copies.
Moody's Says Department Store Closures To Slow Significantly 


Department stores had a weak first quarter, "thanks largely to a slowdown during the all-important holiday season," according to Moody's. 


The generally poor performance in the sector led the service to lower its forecast for operating income. Moody's now expects operating income to decline by 10% in 2019, "twice the decline we had previously called for and worse than the 6% decline in 2018," the report said.

Moody's acknowledged challenges in the form of "cool temperatures," which  burned many in the apparel sector, and noted the efforts of many to reduce debt, including Macy's, Kohl's and Hudson's Bay.


Moody's honed in on operating income as a low point for department stores in the first quarter, noting that it fell 35% for the sector, as department stores "stalled in their efforts to make significant progress in stabilizing operating income."


Even previously strong performers in the sector, like Kohl's and Nordstrom, started the year with disappointment. Retailers toned down full-year guidance and reported negative comparable sales for the first time in a long time. 


Kohl's same-store sales  declined by 3.4%, the first time they've been in the red since Q2 2017, while Nordstrom's  declined 3.5% after five consecutive quarters of positive comp sales.


Moody's named the usual suspects that plague department stores, namely off-price retailers and big discounters, as well as their own debt levels. Macy's, Kohl's and Hudson's Bay have notably paid off $2.1 billion, $943 million and 1 billion Canadian dollars respectively over the past two years, though Nordstrom was called out for, "in part the lack of debt paydown," which led the service to  change the retailer's outlook to negative in May.

"Department stores, in contrast, have been saddled with weak performance in ladies apparel, which continues to drag down sales," the report reads, in comparing department stores to their competitors. 

There are still opportunities for retailers to pick up market share from the  mass closures of 2018, including Sears and Bon-Ton, and Moody's expects "significant slowing" in store closures for department stores this year, with a projected 4% decline, compared to 13% last year. 

However, healthy retailers like Macy's and Kohl's are more likely to gain that share than weaker players like J.C. Penney, which continues to struggle.
"It will take time for the company's new management team to enact critical change and we do not expect a recovery in sales this year," the report reads."
Pittsburgh Lifestyle Brand: Eastern Logic

Eastern Logic is a lifestyle brand stemming from the skateboarding culture of Pittsburgh. The founder, Jordan Taylor, began the company in 2014 in the hopes of promoting a timeless style to cultivate individual creativity.
  "The brand encourages skaters to think for themselves on and off the board, you know be an artist on and off the board. And that goes for everyone else too." Taylor's major inspirations are minimalism, ancient and modern art as well as the 1920s to 1940s era of music life and fashion in America . "Everything is simple and everything has a use," says Taylor, pointing out the stark contrast between his brand and other "loud" street brands.

The brand uses analogue photography and videography to represent the meaning behind the clothes. "We're not into being too cool for school," Taylor says. Each Eastern Logic piece sports their two-flag logo, which represents pride in the brand and the culture behind it. Their instagram, @easternlogic, emphasizes the importance of the culture and diversity in the brand. Skateboarders within the Eastern Logic community are featured regularly on Taylor's YouTube page (Jordan Taylor). Taylor says they " plan to release some lifestyle/fashion projects this year as well." 

Though the fashion industry is extremely competitive, Taylor says it's "exciting to see [my] ideas being created." Taylor is hoping to open doors to other things, including custom clothing and jackets in the future. Eastern Logic also takes requests; if customers ask for specific pieces Taylor finds a way to make it happen. The company just restocked hats and cargo pants and will start selling high-end cargo pants in Spring 2019. Taylor also has plans to expand their women's collection. Eastern Logic's latest collections can be found at and multiple retailers in the Pittsburgh area.

220 5th Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

An enticing menu comprised of Vallozzi family traditions such as homemade pastas (including Helen's gnocchi) and the pizza that made them famous, as well as fresh steaks and seafood. The menu also boasts a number of Italian meats and cheeses flown in from Italy weekly and served from their 'Fresh Mozzarella' bar.