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

In this Issue:
Alert! It Is Finally Here!

The DowntownCDC recognized a need for an all-encompassing platform designed to keep Pittsburgh's fashion industry informed about everything and anything fashion. Pittsburgh Fashion Alert fills this void and is created to keep subscribers updated on new shows, trending local designers, and upcoming fashion events! This innovative newsletter will be released every other Thursday and will include comprehensive calendar ensuring that you will never miss out on a fashion opportunity. Mentoring programs will be available along with workshops that give entrepreneurs the tools to take ideas from the drawing board and turn them into real products. Suggestions for article topics are welcomed and everyone is encouraged to subscribe! Please contact Natalie Nguyen at with any comments or questions regarding Pittsburgh Fashion Alert. 
Fashion For The Heart

For Pittsburgh-based model Soigné Legacy, cooperation with other fashion enthusiasts and designers is a requirement to further the city's reputation in the field. This is why she is partnering with the owner of Whimsy on Fifth in Prestow, PA and the online shop Love Lust Boutique by Sami, Shannon Martinez, to organize the first "Simply Red" fashion show benefiting the American Heart Association. Not only are the two bound by their passion for the clothing industry, they suffer from the same heart issues. "We both have MVP (mitral valve prolapse). We didn't know that of each other," says Legacy. Upon this mutual discovery, the model and boutique owner decided to fundraise for a cause they were both strongly attached to, while showcasing local designers.

Simply Red will, according to Legacy, be "a fashion show with 4 local designers (Sasha Gardner, Sofiya Mozley, Beth Shari, and Jennifer Mendicino). Each designer will have two models to showcase their brand name design, or they may have something in their collection already." In addition, models will walk the runway wearing lingerie from Martinez's online store, although the items are made by brands from California, including Fantasie Lingerie. Included in the festivities is a silent auction of eligible bachelors and a photo booth, from which the profits will be completely donated to the AHA. The event's keynote speaker will be Mrs. Pennsylvania America 2018, Sandahl Taylor, whose father suffered a heart attack that left him paralyzed and has a heart condition herself. Taylor's platform is "Heart Health Awareness" which played a major role in her pageantry run, making her the perfect candidate to speak at Simply Red. ULTA Beauty will be volunteering its services for hair and cosmetics; sponsors include Sunita Pandit of and Erica Shulsky, owner and agent of the real estate brokerage firm eXp Realty.

Legacy and Martinez hope to legitimize Pittsburgh as a fashionable city as they believe its standing is not where it could be. This is partly due to the behavior of designers in the area; Martinez explains that " [she comes] across cattiness, people not seeing Pittsburgh as professional, so hopefully this will showcase it as professional and with common goals so it benefits everybody." She boasts that Pittsburgh has talented designers who could compete with those from New York and Los Angeles, but it all comes down to "working on the same page and not having agendas."

Simply Red will be held on February 2nd from 6pm-10pm at Gaetano's Banquet Center and Restaurant. Ticket prices range from $55 for a single ticket, to $90 for a couple's ticket and $400 for a table of ten. Additionally, a student discount is available for $35. No matter the type of ticket, 10% of each will go to the AHA. The show will be a black tie event and 21+. Ticket price includes dinner and a swag bag along with the fashion show.

James Houk A Pittsburgh Prodigy

The largest selling designer from Pittsburgh, James Houk entered the industry from a surprising background. Originally from Brookline, Houk planned to spend his career in sports, first as a professional fighter, then as a conditioning assistant for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Houk also has a passion for painting; while showing his art to a critic, he was approached by a buyer from American Eagle and asked if he could translate his art into clothes. Though he didn't know anything about fashion, Houk took the risk and joined the industry.

From Barneys New York to gift bags at the Grammys and Academy Awards, Houk has gained popularity in the fashion world. He works primarily with high-end retailers and partners; however, Houk also designs through "family connections" with Forever21 and FashionNova, including a collaboration with Cardi B for her FashionNova line. He is currently working in partnership with Carlos Slim, as well as focusing on his artwork. In ten years, Houk hopes to see himself in the Guggenheim Museum for both fashion and painting.

All of Houk's designs include a personal meaning to him. "I design from middle America outward;" Houk focuses on the history and traditions of his home. Despite being unable to sell in Pittsburgh due to lack of high-end boutiques, Houk states that he "always promoted Pittsburgh" in his work. His denim line, Big Chief, included metal from the abandoned steel mills of Pittsburgh. He also collaborated with the Andy Warhol Foundation on a Warhol inspired line. Houk said he expects to see "more talented individuals breaking out" of the Pittsburgh fashion industry, and Pittsburgh Fashion Week is a great place to start.

CMU's Lunar Gala 2019

Each year, students at Carnegie Mellon University combine technology and clothing to create a spectacularly inventive fashion show. The Lunar Gala, which takes place on March 2 nd , is an entirely student run event, including production and modeling. Ruhani Mumick, one of the producers for this year's gala, has had a hand in the show since her freshman year - first as a model, then model coordinator, and now at the very top. The Lunar Gala, which began in 1997, aims to "spread participants' artistic expression and fashion and technology across campus...," Mumick says.

The program provides students interested with ample resources and workspaces to complete their works of art. Designers also have access to CMU's state of the art technological resources such as laser cutters and 3D printers. For those who do not know the ins and outs of tailoring, "gala staff helps them a little bit by holding workshops and giving them some mentors in the Pittsburgh community to speak with." So far, models walking the runway will feature a line inspired by Disney stories and princesses and a few with looks "made completely out of recycled materials...another line is entirely made out of other designers' scrap fabrics." Mumick says. The latter designers hope to "show that you can make something beautiful out of trash or recycled items," a topical theme in 2019.

Although the first priority of the Lunar Gala is its creations, Mumick quips that it "has evolved past just being a fashion show... we have dancing performances, we have of course the fashion, but we also have a great display of production [which] comes from students on campus who are part of our school of drama ... so they have great experiences working with real shows." Every year, CMU students are wowed by the spectacle. 2019's theme will be "Anomie," defined as "a condition of society that isolates the individual through the dissolution of community." The show will focus on the role that technology, like the internet, has played in tearing people apart and away from each other. The event's Facebook page describes it as an "ephemeral catwalk through the heat, expanse, delirium and utopia of a digital horizon." The Lunar Gala will take place at 8 p.m. on March 2nd at Carnegie Mellon University's Cohon University Center. Ticket prices range from $20 to $75.


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.