This is part of the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival. Purchase a Festival Concurrent Sessions Pass to attend this event.
Demeatria Boccella is Founder of FashionAFRICANA.
FashionAFRICANA is one of the leading African-inspired Fashion and Art events in Pittsburgh. Established in 2001, FashionAFRICANA celebrates the beauty and diversity of the African Diaspora through design, dance, music and curated exhibitions. Utilizing Africa’s diverse cultural heritage, the show reflects the vitality of the creative human spirit and has showcased the diverse talents of fashion designers and artists from all over the world including Africa, Europe and the United States. The intent of FashionAFRICANA has always been to share the breadth and richness of African textures, ethos and history through the language of fashion.
Karin Legato, together with her late husband James, “were” Emphatics.
In 1969, James created and opened Emphatics in the Jenkins Arcade. With James’ visionary eye for true creators, together they travelled the world seeking the most innovative and cutting edge designers of the time like Jean Paul Gaultier, Alaia, Issey Miyake, Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler. They were the first to bring them to Pittsburgh, becoming one of the country’s premier and internationally-respected high-fashion designer retailers.
True fashion pioneers and entrepreneurs, James and Karin opened Emphatics “Theatre-of Fashion” in One Oxford Centre in 1983. There, fashion was the medium. The collections were presented in a museum-like experience and curated with Karin’s keen and very individualistic sense of style as fashion director and buyer.
From 1969- 2014, while operating Emphatics and living their passion, James and Karin carefully archived pieces from each collection and created an Emphatics Archive. The Archive consists of over 400 garments, accessories, photographs, invitations, and more. In 2015, the Emphatics Archive was acquired by the Arizona Costume Institute at the Phoenix Art Museum.
Karin learned to sew and make clothing as a child, and after graduating from Chatham College, further pursued her fashion interests and passion for design at Clarissa School of Fashion Design, by taking pattern-making and fashion drafting classes to develop her knowledge of garment making.