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FGI Pittsburgh talks next steps for fledgling fashion group

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

FGIMembers of the Pittsburgh provisional chapter of Fashion Group International came together last week to discuss what can and needs to be done to secure the city's permanent status in the elite fashion group.

"We really need to step up our game," said FGI Pittsburgh president Stephanie Taylor.

To become a full-fledged chapter, Pittsburgh must get on board at least 40 paid and approved members and hold five or six successful fashion-focused events. So far, more than 20 people have been approved for membership and have paid the fee to join, while several others have applied but have yet to pay. Some technical issues with the FGI website may have contributed to delays with some potential members submitting their applications online, Ms. Taylor said.

Rather than solely relying on the group's board to rally support for the provisional chapter, Ms. Taylor used the meeting to start to engage the members it already has to attract even more interest in what FGI is all about.

"We can't do it alone," she said.

The board and members agreed that being able to bring a chapter of FGI to Pittsburgh would benefit the city's fashion scene by serving as a core where designers, stylists, photographers, boutique owners and others could come together to network and collaborate.

At the meeting openings on the FGI Pittsburgh provisional board also were announced. The group is seeking candidates for the Programming and Sponsorship positions. The former will work alongside Ms. Taylor, as well as lead meetings and help be a community ambassador for the group. The latter position is responsible for seeking funding for group events. Candidates should be paid, approved members of FGI Pittsburgh and have experience in the fashion, style, beauty, art or design industry. Resumes should be emailed to Ms. Taylor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , and some candidates will be asked to give a 10-15 minute presentation on their background and ideas for the respective roles their applying for at a board meeting July 23 6-7:30 p.m. at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Downtown.

To learn more about FGI Pittsburgh, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or follow the group on Facebook. To apply for membership, visit fgi.org or direct membership questions to Miyoshi Anderson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

 

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ICYMI: Pittsburgh-based Nikki's Magic Wand beauty brand makes QVC on-air debut

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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Nikki's Magic Wand -- a makeup-saving cosmetics tool by a Pittsburgh-based entrepreneur -- made its on-air debut this morning on the QVC shopping network.

Nicole Manns of Penn Hills invented the product to help people scoop out glosses, lotions, creams and other cosmetics out of hard-to-reach corners of their tubes and bottles. In the six-plus minute segment, Ms. Manns explained her inspiration behind the invention and demonstrated how to use it for the QVC hosts. The segment started with 1,000 units in stock; about 300 remained by the end of it. 

In 2013, Ms. Manns was a winner of QVC's Sprouts contest for emerging products and entrepreneurs, which resulted in her wands being featured and sold on QVC.com.

Learn more about the brand at www.nikkismagicwand.com or shop for it on QVC.com. Click HERE to watch a video of Ms. Mann's QVC segment.

Pictured: Nicole Manns, center, explains to QVC program hosts how her makeup-saving tool Nikki's Magic Wand works.

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Pittsburgh-based designer Kiya Tomlin to be featured on Aspire TV show 'Exhale'

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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Pittsburgh-based designer Kiya Tomlin's journey in fashion will be featured tonight on the Aspire TV network's show "Exhale."

On the program, viewers will learn about Ms. Tomlin's career path and what it's like to be an entrepreneur in the fashion industry. In advance of the show, the network released the following about Ms. Tomlin's background:

Kiya Tomlin discovered her love of fashion at a young age when she began making dresses for her dolls from homemade paper towels. At eleven Kiya was given a sewing machine. She has been designing ever since and has turned her talent into a decade-long career in fashion with her ready-to-wear apparel brand Uptown Sweats by Kiya Tomlin and a flagship boutique.

Throughout her childhood fashion was always a creative outlet and passion but not something Tomlin considered a career goal. She attended The College of William and Mary on a competitive gymnastics scholarship and had plans to become a doctor. Her life changed course when she met fellow student Mike Tomlin, currently the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The pair married right after graduation and Mike’s trajectory in the world of football began to take off.

While Mike coached at a college level and the Tomlins became parents, Kiya utilized fashion design and sewing as a creative outlet. She studied formally for several years at the universities where her husband was coaching and took classes in fit and garment construction honing her skills and developing her own creative voice as a designer. Kiya would frequently get stopped on the street by women asking about her outfit. Her natural entrepreneurial instinct kicked in and Kiya realize she might be on to something. So when Coach Tomlin joined the NFL in 2001, Kiya launched her business, first with a focus on custom design and in 2013 with a ready to wear collection, Uptown Sweats by Kiya Tomlin.

The program begins at 9 p.m. Information: exhale.aspire.tv/about (Photo: Kiya Tomlin, right, with her assistant Brittany Meyer in the flagship boutique Ms. Tomlin shares with Sandra Cadavid handbags and jewelry in East Liberty. Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette)

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Style Week Pittsburgh unveils schedule of fashion-focused events

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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The countdown is on to Style Week Pittsburgh, which will return for its third year of fashion-focused events to be held Aug. 12-16.

Wadria Taylor founded the annual event with a mission to bring to the city fashion shows and networking events that would spotlight designers, stylists, fashion photographers and other industry insiders from Pittsburgh and beyond the region.

Here's a preview of this year's events:

Aug. 12Opening night designer fashion show at Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, East Liberty -- Runway show featuring fashion designers from Pittsburgh and abroad. Plus there will be vendors, a beauty and grooming bar, food and cocktails, all capped off by a dance party. (6-11 p.m.; $25 per person)

Aug. 13Style Awards at Perle, Downtown -- For the third year, some of the Pittsburgh fashion scene's movers and shakers will be saluted during an awards ceremony. (6-9 p.m.; $25 per person)

Aug. 14Pinstripes & Pearls at LUXE Pittsburgh, East Liberty -- Check out the latest fashion trends for professional men and women, and enjoy a complimentary cocktail and refreshments. (6-9 p.m.; $15 per person)

Aug. 15Fashion block pop-up market at Market Square, Downtown -- Shop accessories, shoes, bow ties and more for men and women. Presented in partnership with the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation. (1-4 p.m.; Free to the public)

Aug. 16Hat fashion show and brunch at location to be announced -- See a showcase of hats by Pittsburgh-based Gina Mazzotta Millinery (noon-3 p.m.; $45 invitation only)

A portion of the proceeds from this year's events will benefit Dress for Success Pittsburgh. To learn more or purchase tickets, visit www.styleweekpittsburgh.com.

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Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame announces 2015 inductees

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

PittsburghFashionWeek

For the sixth year in a row, Pittsburgh Fashion Week will close in September with the inductions of the latest class of Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame honorees.

This year's inductees are: Emilio Cornacchione and Gino Chiodo, co-owners and principal stylists at Izzazu Salon, Spa and Serata; Lisa Wagner-Freeman, fashion consultant and style columnist; James Houk, fashion designer and owner of Jet Street Design; Ahmad Sandidge, owner of Sandidge Photography; and Ashley Boynes-Shuck, author and fashion blogger.

Once again, the Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame will honor an artist on the rise. This year's exceptional artist award will go to Nicole Widdowson, a fashion stylist.

The honorees were selected based on nominations from the community and their impact on the region's fashion, style and beauty industries. They will be recognized at a luncheon at the Omni William Penn hotel, Downtown, on Sept. 27. Tickets will go on sale by July 7 for $70. Information: www.pittsburghfashionweek.com.

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