In the past decade, Highland Park native Julia DiNardo (pictured above) has seen designers come and go, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week move from Bryant Park to its current home at Lincoln Center, bloggers gain ground as resources for runway photos and trend reports in the fashion world and built up her own website, www.FashionPulseDaily.com.
This week marks Ms. DiNardo's 20th season covering New York Fashion Week. In addition to reporting on the shows and presentations for her website, she'll be filing stories for freelance commitments and doing on-camera trend report segments. Throughout her career, she's contributed to media outlets such as Redbook, GQ, BeautyHigh.com and AOL StyleList, among others.
Although Ms. DiNardo has lived in New York for 14 years, she still maintains her Pittsburgh roots. She designs the Neighbor Teaze line (www.neighborteaze.com), a collection of T-shirts, totes and more with Pittsburgh neighborhood-centric slogans and graphics (pictured at right).
My favorite part of covering New York Fashion Week is ... the excitement of seeing new silhouettes, colors and concepts come together, formally presented for the first time and meticulously set to lighting, music and a rapt audience. It certainly can be an adrenaline rush!
The biggest misconception of New York Fashion Week is ... that it is 100 percent fun. The bottom line is that most people are there to earn a living, from the designers to the buyers, press and brands sponsoring the event. At the end of the day, it's all about hard work. Shows run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., so throughout the day and at the end of the day there has to be time to digest the information seen and write about it; post it on social media; take, upload and edit images; respond to emails; and hopefully eat. Plus, Fashion Week composes just a small fraction of my work life, so I have to make sure everything else is staying above water throughout the week!
My Fashion Week survival tip is ... ample rest. It's the end-all, be-all to doing a marathon eight days of Fashion Week and not getting sick. Unfortunately, especially for me, it's the hardest thing to achieve!
One of my favorite New York Fashion Week memories is ... there are so many! Seated next to Tim Gunn at a Cynthia Steffe show and having a GREAT candid conversation; taking my mom to her first fashion show when [Fashion Week] was located at Bryant Park; the insanely gorgeous curved flower runway (with real flowers!) that was out of this world years ago at the Alexandre Herchcovitch show; the mood, quite tangible by all, the first day of the shows each season, with excitement and optimism quite palpable since no one is exhausted yet from the week. Overall, constantly gaining inspiration and renewing and reinvigorating my love of fashion is my favorite memory, which, if I'm lucky, happens over and over again throughout the week.
One of the challenges of my job is ... having quick and well-written and edited pieces that can be published shortly after the runway show ends or backstage closes. It's a constant struggle to find a place to camp out, with wifi, and write what needs to be written. There are so many distractions that you want to take in, so it's hard to keep my eyes glued to my notebook and screen!
One of the things I miss most about Pittsburgh is ... New York may be where I live, work and have spent practically all of my adult life, but Pittsburgh is home! I'm hoping to move back and share what I've learned and experienced here, but in the meanwhile I miss the smells (and tastes) of the incredible food, always cooked with love; the people; the neighborhoods; and taking in a Pirates game on a perfect summer day.
One thing that the fashion scenes in New York and Pittsburgh both share is ... intense creativity. I think that it grows tenfold in Pittsburgh every year, and I see it by the increase in foot traffic at gallery crawls and events, as well as in the window displays of local boutiques.
My advice for aspiring fashion writers and designers is ... it would be to read, read, read, experience, experience, experience! Take in every fashion-related, or otherwise, museum exhibit you can; see every fashion-related movie now through 50 years ago; read the fashion and style section of every major paper across the country; read biographies by those iconic industry figures. You can truly educate and immerse yourself in the field, no matter where you live, if you have genuine dedication and passion for this industry.