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A speaker addressed protestors at an Earth Day rally in Schenley Plaza on Monday.
‘Reclaim Earth Day’ protest calls for Pitt to divest from fossil fuels
By Kyra McCague, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
Stephany Andrade: The Steve Jobs of education
By Thomas Riley, Opinions Editor • April 24, 2024
The best cafés to caffeinate and cram for finals
By Irene Castillo, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

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A speaker addressed protestors at an Earth Day rally in Schenley Plaza on Monday.
‘Reclaim Earth Day’ protest calls for Pitt to divest from fossil fuels
By Kyra McCague, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
Stephany Andrade: The Steve Jobs of education
By Thomas Riley, Opinions Editor • April 24, 2024
The best cafés to caffeinate and cram for finals
By Irene Castillo, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

‘As a creative, there are no rules’: Pittsburgh Fashion Week showcases looks from Pittsburgh designers

Sparkles, velvet and an array of silhouettes hit the runway in a display of artistry from Pittsburgh’s fashion community at the Pittsburgh Fashion Week runway show. The event boasted eight fashion designers and 46 looks last weekend at the Wintergarden at PPG Place. Diamonds by Rothschild, a downtown jewelry boutique, produced and managed the show for the first time. Becky Halvorson, the manager of Diamonds by Rothschild, emphasized her admiration for the local talent. 

“I’ll tell you, these designers are just completely awe-inspiring. I am so impressed with what they’re going to put down the runway and I know everybody there is going to be shocked that every single one of these designers is either from Pittsburgh or has a Pittsburgh connection,” Halvorson said. 

Guests filled the venue with lights illuminating the glass space. The show kicked off with a choreographed dance announcing Diamonds by Rothschild’s new collection, “Fierce.” The eight designers each presented five to six pieces that demonstrated their individual styles and artistry. 

Halvorson said a goal for the show was to be inclusive, so there was no overall theme. 

“We wanted this show to be very inclusive of every style that somebody would possibly want to wear, whether that’s being conservative and going to the office, whether that’s going to a ball, whether that’s a gender-fluid outfit. We wanted it to be really really really diverse and inclusive,” Halvorson said. 

Three college students had the opportunity to design a piece that they displayed before the event. Halvorson said mentorship was a main focus for the show. 

“It’s tough for younger students to get any kind of exposure to fashion or textiles or garment making or manufacturing or show production,” Halvorson said. “So we’ve taken the approach to a mentorship piece of it where the designers really get involved with younger up-and-comings that want to know the field.” 

Malcolm Staples created five looks for the runway. Last week, his 22-piece collection featuring various tuxedos and formal wear for men and women appeared in New York Fashion Week. The Washington, D.C. resident said he visited Pittsburgh for every Steelers home game for seven years straight to watch his nephew LaMarr Woodley play. He participated in the Pittsburgh Fashion Week last year.

Staples said his inspiration for this style came from seeing his well-dressed grandfather while he was growing up. 

“My grandfather was kind of a fashion horse. He loved dressing up everywhere. Even when we saw him going to the barber shop, he had a tailored suit on,” Staples said. “We didn’t understand that. Why would anyone wear a suit to a barber shop? The visual of my grandfather putting on a suit on a Saturday stuck with me and never left.” 

His style heavily reflects past eras where the typical style of clothing was more formal. Staples’ collection in this weekend’s show featured pieces made with rayon and satin fabrics to give them stretch and sheen. His color palette was white and mint green, despite unspoken fashion rules that argue against incorporating these colors outside of specific circumstances. Malcolm said he does not adhere to those rules. 

“Green is a really unusual color as a base color because green sometimes is relegated to spring, which I don’t know who made that rule, but I don’t subscribe to it,” Staples said. “And I know the rule is no white after September, but I don’t subscribe to that either, so I’ll show white whenever I want to show it. As a designer, as a creative, there are no rules, and if there are rules, you can break them.” 

In the interest of accessibility, Diamonds by Rothschild brought a new element to this year’s show called the meet and mingle. After the runway walk, both the designers and the models gathered in the venue to meet the guests and give them the opportunity to admire the craftsmanship of their pieces up close. 

Staples said he uses opportunities like this to listen to the crowd’s thoughts. 

“You don’t always have an ideal opportunity to get feedback on clothes unless you go to shows or hear people talking about what you’ve done,” Staples said. “You meet people when they start telling you what they liked and what really inspires them.”

Halvorson said the meet and mingle also gave guests the chance to see the details and care  that went into the pieces. 

“These designers have been working on these collections for months, hours and hours and hours of time and it’s incredible to be able to see [the garments] up close and personal and see that it’s still as stunning a foot away from you as it was up on the runway,” Halvorson said. 

For designer Starr Thomas of Braddock, PA, her inspiration came from her family. 

“I just lost both of my grandmothers, and my grandmothers really supported me and my designing, and I wanted to do something to commemorate them,” Thomas said. “One of my grandmother’s name was Rose, so I definitely wanted to use flowers. My other grandmother’s favorite color was green, so it kind of fused together.” 

Thomas said she hand-painted her fabrics in between her full-time job as a bridal alterations manager and tending to her five children and stepchildren. 

“It’s an ongoing balancing act,” Thomas said. 

Thomas said she’s very proud of all of her pieces and the hard work that went into creating them.

“My favorite part is getting to showcase my inspiration. My designs, my passions, and everyone getting to see it,” Thomas said. “Seeing the final concept come to life, it’s just a blessing to be able to do something like this.”

About the Contributor
Maya Valletta, Staff Writer
Maya Valletta is a sophomore majoring in media and professional communication. She loves to crochet and is an avid reader.