April 14, 2009 |

Pittsburgh's Finest Prom Closet opens this week

Every year “Pittsburgh's 50 Finest” honorees set out to raise money for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and one of this years honorees, Gretchen Harnick, Fashion Department chair from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, is using her passion for fashion to create a unique event held at SouthSide Works.

Ms. Harnick, who has been Fashion Department chair since March 2006, has been building her own platform for fashion since coming to Pittsburgh. Her education of the fashion industry extends further than her students at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and she says, “As a nominee, one of my big focuses is to help educate and inform high school students about careers in the fashion industry. This is a community outreach initiative.”

Pittsburgh's Finest Prom Closet will dedicate itself to high school girls for two days with Art Institute fashion students donating their prom dresses, and volunteering as personal shoppers. High school girls will be given the chance to purchase donated dresses starting at $20 as well as shoes, jewelry and other accessories in order to save on their prom experience.

Ms. Harnick says she was inspired to hold this event, “Not only to bring the community of fashionistas together but also because of the tough economic times we are experiencing.”

In conjunction with the sale of gowns and accessories, an auction will also take place that will put items like hair styling, make-up applications, nails, and alterations as well as restaurant gift cards are up for bid. Local businesses, such as Harper's Bazaar Bridal Boutique, are donating up to 25 brand new dresses.

Pittsburgh's Finest Prom Closet will be held on Friday, April 17 between 4–8 p.m. and Saturday, April 18 between noon and 6 p.m. at the former Ann Taylor Loft store in the SouthSide Works on the Town Square, 27th Street.

Donations are needed to help make this event as successful as possible and will be taken until the event starts. Items to be donated include new and gently worn formal dresses, formal shoes, purses, wraps and jewelry. Contact Gretchen Harnick for dropping off donations to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh downtown campus.

For more information about Cystic Fibrosis and Pittsburgh's 50 Finest, contact Cyndi Nace at 412-321-4422 or visit ccf.org.

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