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

In this Issue:
Woman of a Thousand Hair Colors

"Each time I see Courtney, her hair is a different color," says John Valentine, executive director of Downtown CDC. 

Looking at Courtney's blog,, and her Instagram, Valentine's anecdote appears to be true. From vibrant pinks to sun-bleached blonde, it's clear that Muzzey expresses herself by the colors of her locks. 

Muzzey got her start in the hair stylist industry at a young age, beginning beauty school classes in high school. Since getting her cosmetologist license in 2016, Muzzey's resume has grown to incorporate her work at the hair salon to being an artistic educator for Pravana. She has also worked for Pittsburgh Fashion Week the past four years, and this year she boasts the title of Lead Brand Ambassador and member of the Glam Squad. 

One aspect of being Lead Brand Ambassador for Fashion Week which holds importance for Muzzey is inclusion. By reaching out to various boutiques, salons, and through fashion education, Muzzey's hope is that her team will get many people involved, making Fashion Week as inclusive as possible. As part of the Glam Squad, Muzzey will also be behind the scenes, ensuring that hair, makeup, and nails of all models work with the designers' visions. 

"Seeing the creative ideas of fashion designers helps to inspire my hairstyling," says Muzzey, describing the reciprocal nature of the fashion and beauty industries. "Fashion trends go hand in hand with hair and makeup looks." 

In addition to the creative inspiration to be found at Fashion Week, Muzzey says one of the most valuable aspects of the event is the chance to socialize and meet new people in the industry. It's safe to say that Muzzey's enthusiasm for Pittsburgh Fashion Week boasts almost at the same level of fun as her bold and trendy hair looks. 

To learn more about Muzzey and read her blog, visit her website at this link:

In Trusst We Trust

Unfortunately for many women, the bra industry does not make many garments for those with larger busts or large band sizes. Even for those companies that have expanded their size range, the bras are often ill-fitting and simply scaled up rather than thoughtfully made for those who need more support. Having taken notice of these errors, Sophia Berman created Trusst Brands, a Pittsburgh-based lingerie company specializing in undergarments for people who have rarely found bras that fit properly. With a background in industrial design, Berman "saw a great need [since] underwire bras were not supportive for larger breasts. A 34B is just scaled up to a bigger U [shaped underwire] for a 34D and it doesn't support underneath at all". With 3D printing and her design background, Berman took matters into her own hands and created a bra that "takes weight off of your shoulders and is a much more comfortable position". 

Another reason for Trusst's inception is the plus size industry's recent growth. As Berman says, the majority of American women are now plus size, making it an incredibly profitable sector to enter. In the past, "there was a stigma that there was a certain range of sizes and that was it," and that plus size clothing was more expensive and difficult to fabricate. In 2019, minds are changing, and Trusst aims to cater to this market with bras that avoid the usual pitfalls like "shoulder dents, back pains, rashes and chafing from uncomfortable material".

The 3D molded technology used by Trusst uses a "special patented technology that is molded into a foam contour cup and then is put into the bra". While many Trusst products are produced in the same factories as other companies' products, using this method makes the assembly process different. Currently, the range includes sizes from a 32 band (but most styles start at 34) to a 46, and cup sizes sold go from a D in larger band sizes to a J. Trusst offers a variety of styles such as front closure bras, racerbacks, plunges, and convertibles (ability to change the position of the straps).

Trusst now has a showroom in Larimer where prospective customers can try on sample sizes by appointment only. Inventory is not stocked in the showroom, but can be ordered there to be delivered. Berman hopes to transition from appointment-only to walk-ins in the near future.
Find out more about Trusst Brands at their website

Something Old. Now New!

"I'm just an aspiring designer and a lover of everything vintage."

Sasha Gardner is 20 years old, self-taught and full of ambition. As a young local designer, he is passionate about bringing a timeless feeling to his designs. An interest in style and antique clothing drew him to design a dress for a fashion show with James Houk (a well-known Pittsburgh designer). 

"I met with James to make a dress for fun," Said Gardner. "The red dress was my first big design, and the door just opened for me from there." 

Since the first show, Gardner has participated in several events such as the James Bond Series by Cake Nightclub, Fashion Alley, and the International StrEAT Festival. 

Gardner values individuality over the masses and focuses on accentuating a client's features. A specialty in customized clothing drives the importance of individual pieces. Instead of trying to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, Gardner's goal with his vintage designs is to create an "ethereal sense of what was and could still be" along with complementing curves.  

"I think we need to rewind ourselves and take pride in what we wear," said Gardner. "I like tailoring an outfit to someone's body." 

As a talented photographer, Gardner also showcases his original works and restored/restructured antique clothing on Instagram (sashayuriydesigns).  
Costco Is Now A $7 Billion Fast-Fashion Destination

Amid the towers of bulk toilet paper and cereal,  Costco members are increasingly flocking to the wholesale retailer for a surprising reason: fashion. 

While  Costco might not seem like the obvious destination for stylish clothing, the warehouse store is raking in more than $7 billion in apparel and footwear sales, with revenues in that category growing 9% a year for the past four years, according to  The Washington Post. Though most of  Costco's 800 stores are large warehouses across the US lacking offerings like fitting rooms, shoppers are increasingly making room in their carts for heavily discounted North Face jackets, Jessica Simpson jeans, and Calvin Klein blouses. 

" Costco has quietly become an apparel destination," Simeon Siegel, a retail analyst for Instinet, told The Post. "It is clearly resonating with shoppers and winning over brands at the expense of department stores." 

Perhaps most impressively,  Costco's apparel sales - which also include products from its  namesake Kirkland collection- are outpacing some traditional retailers like Old Navy, Neiman Marcus, and Ralph Lauren.  Costco's success in the fashion sector is partly thanks to its captive audience of 85 million members who pay an annual fee of $60 and up for access to discounted bulk goods. 

Add the fact that fashion companies are seeking out viable ways to unload excess inventory - and a willingness to do so even at a seemingly unglamorous venue like Costco, thanks to its largely affluent client base - and you've got a recipe for success. 

However, though  Costco may have established itself as an unlikely fashion source, its success may be a flash in the pan unless the retailer finds a ways to court millennials. As Elizabeth Segran, a retail analyst and staff writer for  Fast Company wroteCostco's client base skews older, and though its Gen X and Baby Boomer members are loading up on fast fashion, many millennials are seeking out more sustainable alternatives. 

"Startups like Everlane and Allbirds, which are popular with millennials, are rejecting fast fashion by creating more classic, timeless styles that have a longer shelf life," she wrote. "They're illustrating what the future of fashion could look like, and if  Costco doesn't keep up, its fashion boom may end when the Boomer generation, now between 55 and 75, is too old to shop there anymore."
Amazon Wasn't The Only Retailer That Saw Big Gains On Prime Day 

Large retailers (defined as those with $1 billion-plus in annual revenue) experienced a 72% increase in online sales the second day of Prime Day compared to an average Tuesday and a 64% increase on the first day, according to Adobe Insights. The retailers saw a 68% lift in revenue across the two days.

Small niche companies (less than $5 million in annual revenue) also got a boost, Adobe reported, with a 30% increase on the first day and a 25% rise on the second day.
Some of the best Prime Day discounts were in electronics saw some of the best discounts, with the discount being slightly better for Tuesday at 10% compared to Monday's 9%, according to Adobe. Amongst electronics, smart devices saw the highest discounts (20% off smartphones, 12% off smartwatches, 10% off smart TVs).

Findings from Jumpshot reveal that more retailers than ever before saw success in harnessing the increased shopper interest on Prime Day. Day. Compared to the average summer Tuesday,  Amazon saw 81% more transactions. And among 25 other retailers, transactions were up an average of 32%. 

Amazon .com transactions were 20.6% higher for the two-day  Amazon  Prime Day period than last year, according to Jumpshot. Last year only two retailers saw a lift over their average Tuesday baseline that was higher than  Amazon 's. This year, seven retailers did: Gap, Kohl's, Nike, Best Buy,, Sam's Club and Target.

In other highlights from Jumpshot:
* Nike was the biggest beneficiary of the "Black Friday in July" craze as its online transactions grew two and a half times year-over-year.
* Department store sites (e.g. Nordstrom and Macy's) didn't fare as well this year as their online transactions were down double digits (-74% for Nordstrom and -31% for Macy's) year-over-year for the two-day period.
* The most-purchased products on  Amazon during Prime Day were all  Amazon products. Interestingly, they sold at higher volumes on Monday this year - suggesting that non- Amazon brands fare better on the second day of the Prime event.
* Indeed, those top five products accounted for about 10% of all transactions on Monday, 7/15, but only 7% on Tuesday, 7/16. And  Amazon volumes were higher on Tuesday, suggesting non- Amazon brands were indeed the drivers of the increases
Sonia McKoy: Shining Color on Pittsburgh's Wardrobe

Sonia McKoy began her exploration into fashion at a young age. Her father was a tailor, and she would watch him make clothing, and sometimes providing assistance by sewing a button to a suit jacket. McKoy remembers looking up to her older sister as a style icon. Her sibling would bring home fashionable clothing from London, pieces which sparked McKoy's creativity.

Years later, McKoy would move to Pittsburgh and become the founder of Style Management Experience. Working as a public speaker, mentor for women, and getting her certification as an Image Consultant, McKoy has been working hard to funnel her creative passion into the Pittsburgh community. The working people of Pittsburgh are who continue to inspire her.

McKoy describes some of the fashion challenges Pittsburgh presents. Sometimes it seems as though the working class, steel industry roots of the city inhibit people's sense of individual style. But seeing the effort of women supporting one another and transitioning into the workforce encourages McKoy not to give up.

"Something as simple of color analysis can be life changing," says McKoy. She recalls working with a new mother who had been exhausted by her new 24/7 job as caretaker. McKoy used her image consulting skills to conduct a color analysis, and the result were transformative. "She was glowing. The colors complimented her so well she looked as though she had a full face of makeup on," says McKoy.

For McKoy, it all starts with the individual. McKoy encourages her clients to explore fashion as an individual journey. She considers what the client has tried before, and what they want their end result to be. "I work from the inside out," says McKoy. Style Management Experience is all about customization.  Clients can choose from three signature programs, spanning from 3, 6, or 9 months. Services include color analysis and determining the best compliments specific body structure types. "We want to enhance your body, not hide it," she says. "What you wear changes how you feel about yourself." 

This year, McKoy will be returning as a stylist for Pittsburgh Fashion Week. She remembers the amazing energy of last year fashion week, and fondly recalls helping models with their accessories and adding the finishing touches to their looks. Whether it be for models or for a neighbor, McKoy is always ready to shine some color onto Pittsburgh's wardrobe.

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.