April 1, 2021

Mark your calendars because the one-of-a-kind Ecolution Fashion Gala is returning! After taking a hiatus due to the pandemic, the “Earth Matters Now: For The World We Dream Of & The World We Have Now” is back and bigger than ever. The event which celebrates Pittsburgh Earth Day takes place on April 13, 2022 at the Carnegie Music Hall Foyer. It is curated by Richard Parsakian, owner of Eons Fashion Antique, and styled by Izzazu Salon, Spa & Blowout Bar. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the fashion show will kick off at 8 p.m. I am honored to be co-emceeing this year’s event with WYEP’s Brian Siewiorek. The event will also be hosted by Elista from Star 100.7.

Parsakian challenged designers and artists to elevate this year's theme by creating wearable fashion through the use of sustainable, recyclable and organic materials. The winning environmentally sound ensembles will not only culminate in a fashion-forward spectacle but will also address the environmental issues facing our planet through art. 

“I am so excited to see how everyone has come through the pandemic and how their work has evolved during this time to rethink how to respond to our changing world. I love creating an experience with all art forms that speak truth to power,” said Parsakian.  “How we as artists respond to our planet and how we bring the patrons into this conversation. How can dance, sculpture, design contribute to this discussion? Ecolution will elevate the conversation about sustainability and how we must respect our planet. I am excited to showcase two dance companies that inspire me each day, slowdanger and the Staycee Pearl dance project. With recent political events in Europe, we can no longer allow hostilities to hold countries hostage because they control energy supplies when renewables will speak to a world at peace,” he added.

Cheryl Capezzuti is a sculptor from Brighton Heights who works almost exclusively with recycled materials. She is one of 22 designers competing for the winning look. Capezzuti thought the competition sounded like a great challenge.

“I am a sculptor and puppet maker, not a fashion designer, who has always been committed to working with reused, donated and recycled materials. Every one of us, regardless of our professions, should be reflecting on how to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Capezzuti, who is making her debut on the Ecolution stage.  

Her piece is inspired by the waste generated through industrial processes and she will be using aluminum shavings from a CNC machine which is used to fabricate cut out metal panels for the construction industry.

“The guys in the shop have been sweeping it up and saving it for me. It's an incredibly beautiful waste product,” she added. 

Carley Furlow, an artist based in Harrisburg, began her creative journey rather recently.

“During the pandemic I was making masks for front line and essential workers. It was not until I ran out of fabric that I started making clothes out of household objects and trash that I really got involved in the fashion industry. Now I love the fashion industry and traveling and making clothes,” she said. 

Furlow also wanted to showcase her work on this stage because it centered on sustainable designs.

“We live in a world currently where we wear something only once or twice and then we get rid of it. I think the fashion industry needs to push reusing and upcycling clothing more. I personally believe less clothes need to end up in the landfills,” she said.

Her piece focuses on pastels and utilizing old curtains, coffee filters, markers and mesh tulle. She was inspired by spring, looking at this moment as a chance for change and renewal.

Veteran to the Ecolution stage who finished fourth in the 2019 show without any sewing skills, Pearlann Porter, who lives in the Strip District, gathered his inspiration from the natural beauty of the lands and oceans. What concerns him is how waterways are being flooded by garbage and waste, particularly technological garbage.

“Everyone you know is constantly replacing their tech on a regular basis, with no thought to the fact that everything we buy almost immediately becomes obsolete regardless of how well we take care of it,” Porter said. He continued by asking. “How many more phones and computers will you buy in the next 10 years … or in your lifetime?”

Porter said he’s seen the devastating impact himself.

“I have seen first hand over the years of working at The Space Upstairs and creating multimedia art just how much ‘tech junk’ accumulates to catastrophic proportions alarmingly fast … just the sheer amount of CDs and DVDs that I had accumulated over the years became disturbing, and we’re just one small organization. Every piece of technology you own right now —  including the device you’re reading this on and the device I’m writing it on —  will be total junk in the very near future. We glorify buying the latest, most-advanced thing, while instantly forgetting about the thing we just had and what becomes of it the moment we have the newest version in our hands,” he added.

A panel of three judges including Susan Tsu, Kilolo Luckett and Alisha Wormsley will determine the top four scoring designers who will receive a cash prize courtesy of Lab-Grown Diamonds by Caesar Azzam of Caesar’s Designs Fine Jewelry Creations.

“We are all trying to do our small part in preserving our Earth for future generations. Designing jewelry and working with lab-grown diamonds is one of the ways I can contribute to that effort,” said Azzam. 

VIP Tickets are SOLD OUT. General Admission and General Admission Plus are available. All General Admission Plus ticket holders receive a seat. General Admission tickets are standing-room-only.

We hope to see you there!