Pittsburgh’s “fashionprenuer,” Elysia Newman, is shaking up the game and opening doors for the blossoming industry in our region.
Elysia is a native to the area, born in Latrobe to a multicultural family. Her father is a Pittsburgher while her mother is from Beijing. She spent many of her younger years traveling, eventually returning to the United States to attend Point Park University. Her family encouraged her creativity and self-expression, she has many memories of going “wild” at thrift stores. “I remember wearing some of the most unique outfits you could possibly imagine a middle schooler wearing,” Elysia remarks, “This early experimental phase not only helped me realize the power of fashion as a tool for self-expression, but laid a foundation for my wanderings into the fashion industry as an entrepreneur later in my career.”
Pittsburgh’s fashion scene is diverse and growing. Back in 2017, Elysia and a few industry professionals started meeting to discuss different topics like manufacturing or building an industry directory. They quickly began to realize that the resources for local designers were seriously lacking. Within a year, Style412 was born and had amassed over 100 members.
“Our mission is: ‘To inspire conscious & inclusive industry, connecting and educating fashion industry professionals throughout the Pittsburgh region.’” Elysia says. “I’m not going to lie. It’s been a journey simply tapping into the needs of our community, let alone acquire the proper funding to support them.”
Style412 is no one-trick-pony. The non-profit is the perfect platform for designers to connect with photographers and models. They’ll also be able to tap into Style412’s data-base of resources including manufacturing, photographers, stylists etc. Elysia’s STUDIO campaign perfectly embodies the mission and abilities of Style412. They connect-the-dots by creating stylized shoots that budding creatives might not have been able to accomplish on their own. She reflects, “Our first two cohorts were nothing short of magical and the final work produced by the participants were stunning. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry because the creative energy was unreal.”
Lately, Style412 has been switching gears to focus on sustainability, ethical practices, and conscious consumerism. Their podcast S412 Lab is dedicated to sharing these voices and stories of like-minded folks who are bringing a positive impact to the community. “I’m particularly interested in those who integrate sustainability into their designs as well. Similar to this most recent collaboration featuring local designer, Anna Lemley and the new Beauty Shoppe space, I do it for fun,” she says.
While this year has been challenging, Elysia is still feeling optimistic. “Yes, I’ve had to rethink a lot, it’s also given me extreme clarity surrounding what I love to do. Before I was tip toeing around these pursuits and now, I am just going for it…because why not?”
If you’re a part of Pittsburgh’s fashion world and you’d like to connect to Elysia– just drop her a line! She’s always “Open and ready to learn about new fashion or beauty brands that I haven’t heard of before or highlighting a new product line or collection launch!”
Follow Elysia on social media – @Style412 / @elysiapandapgh or check out her blog www.elysiapandapgh.comThis content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.