Nikole Li and Janelle Cutler cultivated in Pittsburgh a passion for style and shoes, respectively. Now they're taking their talents to the Big Apple to promote at New York Fashion Week.
Ms. Li, a lifelong Pittsburgher who now resides in Carnegie, is a stylist who started in 2011 her own business, AstonishingStyle. Since then, she's grown a clientele through her work with local fashion and beauty events. By attending New York Fashion Week, she hopes to broaden her business' reach and recognition, she says.
Ms. Cutler, a Green Tree resident originally from Wheeling, W.Va., founded about a year ago the online shoe boutique www.ShoeDIVABoutique.com, a site that offers "unique styles for divas picked by divas," she says. At New York Fashion Week, Ms. Cutler is the shoe sponsor for designers Brandi Russell of Sacred Heart Collections, Briana Dione and Jason Scott of ByJLoren. Models in these shows will be wearing shoes from ShoeDIVA Boutique.
"My goal is to become internationally own," she says. "I want to eventually start my own shoe line."
Below, find more from Ms. Li and Ms. Cutler on fashion, Pittsburgh style and surviving New York Fashion Week.
Q&A with Nikole Li ... (pictured at right)
How did you get started as a stylist? I felt it was time to share my knowledge, creativity and passion for fashion and accessories. I wanted to make people feel good inside and out. And when you look good, you feel great!
I'm most looking forward to at New York Fashion Week ... the fashion shows and the major networking opportunities.
If I could spend a day with any member of the fashion world, living or deceased, it would be ... Anna Wintour. She is the ultimate fashion icon in my book. I would drive her delirious with questions!
My favorite part of my job is ... seeing the smile of satisfaction on my clients' faces after their transformation. Whether it be hair, makeup or wardrobe, they are amazed at the true beauty and/or style they've had all along, which I've helped to accentuate. My company tagline is "Making your entrance ... grand."
My NYFW survival tips are ... first, have a planned agenda and keep in touch with social media. Also, I suggest packing lightly to attend shows. It's not necessary to have the biggest handbag in the room or the highest heels. There is lots of walking in not-so-great weather, so dress stylishly but comfortably and cautiously at the same time. Be sure to have your cellphone and/or camera chargers on deck, memory cards and business cards.
Make friends -- seriously, meet up with people. Introduce yourself. You never know who knows who.
In five years, I'd like to be ... a well-known industry name. I would like to have acquired a celebrity clientele and continue to travel the world styling the stars!
My advice for aspiring stylists is ... don't be afraid or think you're too good to start from the bottom. Yes, volunteer! Put in the hard work to gain the inside knowledge and experience necessary to eventually succeed on your own.
Look, listen and learn. Stay on the scene. Attend as many fashion shows and/or fashion-related events as possible. You want to be sure your name, face and services are known to everyone in the industry.
Remain professional at all times but have fun in the process. It's a journey, enjoy it!
Q&A with Janelle Cutler ... (Pictured at right)
I was inspired to work in fashion because ... I love fashion, especially shoes. My closet exceeds 150 pairs.
My designer inspiration is ... Christian Louboutin.
In my closet, I can't live without ... heels, heels, heels!
At New York Fashion Week, my goal is ... to network and meet as many people in the fashion industry as possible.
Below, find some of the ShoeDIVA shoes that will be featured this weekend at New York Fashion Week.
Photos courtesy of ShoeDIVA Boutique.