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Fox Chapel twins go behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

Polyvore Twins

NEW YORK -- Fashion is more than just a hobby for Kaitlyn and Arianna Costanzo, 21-year-old twins from Fox Chapel. It's a career goal and a passion.

They're both fashion bloggers (Kaitlyn's site is The Layered Lineup and Arianna's blog is Flawed Paradise). Plus, this past summer they interned for the Brooklyn-based jewelry band K/LLER Collection. They also study public relations and advertising at Point Park University.

But one of their biggest breaks to date is being tapped by the shopping website and app Polyvore to attend New York Fashion Week as community correspondents, who go behind the scenes and attend shows and report on them for the website's fashion followers.

Stylebook caught up with the twins as they headed to the Big Apple.

What was your reaction to being invited to New York Fashion Week?

Kaitlyn: It's always been a dream, so it's pretty exciting.

What do you hope to take away from the experience?

Arianna: We both just want to grow ourselves. Being in Pittsburgh, we don't have as many opportunities in the fashion industry.

Has being in Pittsburgh made it challenging for you to break into the fashion industry?

Kaitlyn: I think it's been a little difficult. I've always been slightly afraid to fully express myself fashion-wise. There definitely are some people in Pittsburgh who are fashionable. Some people look at you the wrong way if you're wearing something that's different other than a sports jersey.

So how would you describe your personal style?

Kaitlyn: Edgy, but calm and cool. I really look up to designer Saint Laurent.

Arianna: My biggest inspiration ever since I was young was Alexander McQueen.

Where's your favorite place to shop in Pittsburgh?

Kaitlyn and Arianna: Ross Park Mall

What's your fashion dream job?

Kaitlyn: I would love to either possibly be a stylist because I've always looked up to Rachel Zoe, or just be able to work under or in the company of a high-fashion brand.

Arianna: I agree. Or eventually having something of my own.

See more from Kaitlyn and Arianna on Polyvore at kaitlyncostanzo.polyvore.com and flawedparadise.polyvore.com. Read more about other Pittsburghers taking in part in New York Fashion Week HERE.

Photos: From left, Arianna and Kaitlyn Costanzo. Courtesy of Polyvore.

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NYFW: Shades of blue to be hot hues for Fall 2016, Pantone says

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

Pantone

NEW YORK -- In time for New York Fashion Week, color experts with Pantone have announced their picks for hot hues for Fall/Winter 2016.

Tranquil shades of blue are expected to dominate fashion and style later this year, along with grays, pinkish purples, red tones and spicy mustard yellows, according to Pantone. As in recent seasons, the latest color report is made up of several hues that are fluid from gender to gender.

Pantone’s top 10 color picks for fall are: Riverside (a new denim blue), Airy (a softer blue), Sharkskin gray, Aurora (a rich red), Warm Taupe, Dusty Cedar, Lush Meadow (a vibrant foliage-inspired green), Spicy Mustard, Potter’s Clay and Bodacious (soft grape).

Learn more at www.pantone.com.

RELATED MEDIA: Pantone picks Serenity, Rose Quartz as 2016 colors of the year

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Mark your calendars: Style Week Pittsburgh announces 2016 dates

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

StyleWeek2016

Style Week Pittsburgh will be back for its fourth year come summertime. 

From Aug. 18-21, the fashion-focused affair will roll out a series of runway shows, mixers and more for Pittsburgh style enthusiasts to enjoy. Another highlight of the week will be the annual Style Awards, which recognizes some of the city's arts and style influencers.

Wadria Taylor started Style Week Pittsburgh in 2013 as a way to spotlight some of Pittsburgh's hidden style gems and to give members of the local fashion community a platform for networking and collaborating.

Learn more at styleweekpittsburgh.com.

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Pittsburgh-based Simple Sugars talks plans to become $30 million company on ABC's 'Beyond the Tank'

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

SimpleSugars Portrait

Business is pretty sweet these days for Pittsburgh-based Simple Sugars, the all-natural face and body scrub line that Fox Chapel native Lani Lazzari created when she was just 11 years old. It soared onto the national, and even international, stage when Ms. Lazzari, 21, pitched the brand on ABC's TV show "Shark Tank" back in March 2013, when she earned an investment from Mt. Lebanon native Mark Cuban.

Simple Sugars was back in the spotlight Thursday night when it was featured on the "Shark Tank" spin-off series "Beyond the Tank," which shows what life's like for businesses after being on the reality show.

In the episode, Mr. Cuban visited Simple Sugars' 10,000 square-foot facility at RIDC Park, where it moved last year from its previous home in a 1,700 square-foot storefront in Sharpsburg.

It's "fancy schmancy," he says about the headquarters, decked out in the brand's signature pink.SimpleSugars Headquarters

He's pleased with Ms. Lazzari's success and hustle; Simple Sugars has done more than $4 million in sales since it made its "Shark Tank" debut.

"I saw a mini me in Lani," Mr. Cuban says about why he invested in her business. "She's driven."

But is the brand growing fast enough? During his visit, Mr. Cuban advised Ms. Lazzari to find someone who knows things about business that she and her mom Gina, who's the company's vice president, don't know and bring them into the Simple Sugars family to help accelerate its growth. He also liked Ms. Lazzari's idea to invest in rebranding and better promoting Simple Sugars' men's line Smooth for Men, in hopes of boosting its sales and tapping into the fast-growing men's personal care market.

They also talked social media strategies. With Mr. Cuban's guidance, Simple Sugars is launching a Facebook video series that offers tips on business and entrepreneurship, among other topics.

"Her goal is not 10, not 20, but at least $30 million in sales," Mr. Cuban says. "She's got what it takes."

Read more about Simple Sugars' story here. Check out this video to take a behind-the-scenes look inside the Simple Sugars headquarters.

Photos: At top, Mark Cuban and Lani Lazzari at the Simple Sugars headquarters on ABC's "Beyond the Tank." Above right, the Simple Sugars production facility. Photos by Scott Evans/ABC

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Rose Quartz, Serenity are Pantone's picks for 2016 colors of the year

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

Pantone2016

For fashion fanatics and design gurus, the announcement of Pantone's top color pick for the year ahead is big news. This time, Pantone color experts delivered double the dose of excitement. For the first time, the title of "color of the year" goes to a blending of two colors: Rose Quartz (a soft pink) and Serenity (a tranquil sky blue).

"In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design," Pantone said on its website. "This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer's increased comfort with using color as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage." 

So why these couple of colors?

"Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace," says Pantone Color Institute executive director Leatrice Eiseman.

In recent seasons, Pantone has strayed from releasing color trend reports for both men and women, instead just picking a palette of 10 gender-fluid hues, so the decision to blend what's historically been considered a more feminine color with a more masculine one is right in line with these trends.

Check out more Pantone color news and trend reports below:

* Pantone releases color trend report for Spring/Summer 2016

Color trends for Fall/Winter 2015

* Pantone picks Marsala as 2015 color of the year

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