About 100 people representing different parts of Pittsburgh's fashion community gathered Thursday evening at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Downtown, to discuss potentially bringing a local chapter of the global nonprofit Fashion Group International back to Pittsburgh.
FGI, based in New York City, helps unite and promote fashion insiders from around the world. Pittsburgh was home to a chapter about 20 years ago, but it "faded away," said associate dean of academic affairs Alberta Certo, who spoke about the history of the organization at the exploratory meeting.
FGI started in 1930 by some of the fashion industry's leading women of the time, including Vogue editor Edna Woolman Chase, Elizabeth Arden and Eleanor Roosevelt. The goal of the founding members was to provide a forum for the fashion industry to exchange information and support.
In Pittsburgh, Stephanie Taylor, chairwoman of the Art Institute's fashion retail management and fashion design programs, hopes having a local chapter would help bring attention and resources to the city's fashion community. For the city to establish a chapter, it has to present to FGI headquarters a need for starting a local group, as well as evidence of a viable fashion community and the names of at least 40 people representing a cross-section of the local fashion scene (e.g., retailers, buyers, designers, boutique owners, fashion educators, etc.) who would be the founding members. The chapter also will need officers and members to fill committees for recruiting members, disseminating information and organizing programming.
Upon approval from the headquarters, Pittsburgh will be able to found a provisional chapter, which will hold monthly meetings and regular programs or workshops. Pittsburgh also hopes to have a student chapter, Ms. Taylor said, which could be populated by students from the Art Institute's fashion design and fashion retail management programs.