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All that Jazmin: A newcomer to fashion world looks like a star

PITTSBURGH | If you don’t know designer Jazmin Jackson, get acquainted with the name. It’s apt to keep popping up in Pittsburgh fashion — and beyond.

At the recent third annual Style Week Pittsburgh, Jackson’s line, Jazmeen, was featured at the opening night fashion showcase. She also was a nominee in the designer of the year category at the local 2015 Style Awards.

But for Jackson, who launched her label in 2012, being a designer isn’t just about creating clothes that look good. It’s about trying to do some good in society. With aid from The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments’ Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh grant, Jackson started the Supercool Tour, an interactive life skills seminar geared toward teen girls that uses fashion and the arts to promote self esteem and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). She also works part time as a graphic designer and operations support and information specialist for Tickets for Kids, a nonprofit that provides in-need children and families with tickets to cultural and creative activities.

Jazmin Jackson

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“I’ve always loved designing,” says Jackson, who’s been sketching looks since age 10. She learned how to sew from her grandmother, a seamstress who worked in sewing factories and sold her pieces in boutiques in Atlantic City, N.J.

In high school, Jackson further sharpened her fashion skills by designing her prom dress and creating a few professional looks for college. (She graduated in 2008 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in business administration and studied costume design, couture sewing, draping and pattern making in the school’s Master of Fine Arts costume production program. She moved here after graduation and now resides in the area.

“I don’t like shopping to this day,” she says, adding that it’s often difficult to find fashion-forward apparel that fits a tall frame with curves like hers. “That was one of the reasons I wanted to create clothing for women who have different body types.”

In addition to a flattering fit, her pieces are known for their vibrant kaleidoscopic prints, which Jackson digitally creates and then has transferred onto fabrics she uses in her designs. She’s also a member of TechShop Pittsburgh, where she’s learning laser cut and embroidery techniques to incorporate into her line.

“It’s very rewarding to be able to make something from scratch,” she says.

These days her other “passion project” is prepping for the Supercool Tour, which will travel this fall to schools and youth groups across the city and to New York. Rather than a traditional fashion look book, in which highly stylized models (sometimes in sexualized or submissive poses) are photographed in a designer’s collection, Ms. Jackson produced a photo book where the girls wearing her clothes are shown engaged in activities such as rock climbing, changing a tire or working in a science lab. Teens will compare the images depicted in her book to ones in photo spreads from high-fashion magazines so they can learn to recognize the differences in how the models are portrayed.

“It goes back to the lack of positive imagery that you see of women in all forms of media,” Jackson says. “I want to make them aware.”

The workshop also will explore how STEM concepts can be applied to problem solving in the fashion and beauty industries, such as determining what properties make a fabric good for wicking moisture, or how pH levels relate to shampoos and conditioners.

“These are things where they can use science in a fun way,” she says.

She hopes her fashions spread a sense of fun to those who wear them, too. For now, she specializes in limited-edition pieces sold online at (about $80-$150 on average for sporty pieces, and approximately $250-$400 for dresses). She’s interested in aligning with some local boutiques so she can expand the reach of her business and its impact.

“It’s always good to hear from other people that your clothes make them feel good.” she says. “I definitely see opportunities for it to grow.”

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Miss Belding Scholarship Pageant coming to Belding High School

This Saturday, Aug. 29, contestants in the Miss Belding Scholarship Pageant will be taking the stage to see who will be crowned Miss Belding for 2015.

The Miss Belding Scholarship Pageant is an annual tradition that allows young women in the Belding area to show off their various talents, skills, and knowledge. According to Julie Mikek, pageant co-chair, whoever is crowed Miss Belding will hold a number of responsibilities.

The 2015 Miss Belding contestants, from left to right: Kiana Pollock, Desirae Lovell, Hannah Kellogg, 2014 Miss Belding Allison Harrison, Kiley Walch and Alexis Cahill.

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“The winner will represent Belding,” Mikek said. “There is about 10 to 12 parades they’re in every year, and they must show up to those.”

Mikek said that along with representing the city and attending parades, the winner must remember to do one more thing: have fun.

A dress rehearsal for the pageant is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 28, where pageant participants will gather to practice for the event as if it is the real thing to ensure that everyone knows where to be and what to do.

The pageant itself will take place at the Belding High School Auditorium, located at 850 Hall St. in Belding, starting at 7 p.m., and a $10 fee will be charged at the door.

“Basically, the girls are vying for scholarship money,” Mikek said. “The top two title winners will receive scholarship money, as well as the runner up.”

Mikek said that the scholarship amounts vary from year to year, and the amount will be revealed on Saturday.

There are 13 contestants in this year’s pageant, ranging between four categories: Kiddie King and Queen, Junior Miss Belding, Young Miss Belding, and Miss Belding.

Contestants for Kiddie King and Queen are Carlie Willingham, Jordyn Mathews, Brian Hanner, Yaelynn Tayler, and Cayla Nielsen.

Contestants for Junior Miss Belding are Mackenzie Fleser, Lauren Barker, Jenisa Henry, Laken Cheney, Katelynn Walch, and Anastasia Hintz.

Competing for the Young Miss title is Jaslyn Henry and Kayla Walch.

The Miss Belding contestants are Kiana Pollock, Desirae Lovell, Hannah Kellogg, Kiley Walch, and Alexis Cahill.

Allison Harrison was crowned Miss Belding in 2014, Maddie Hubbart was Young Miss 2014, and Lauren Thompson was named the 2014 Junior Miss Belding.

The evening will begin with the contestants performing an opening number. The theme of this year is “The Lorax” by Dr. Suess, so each contestant will be dancing to music from the movie.

Following the opening number, each contestant will introduce themselves, and the Kiddie King and Queen will be named.

Contestants in the Young Miss and Junior Miss categories will then take the stage in their ‘expression wear,’ which is clothing that shows their personality and interests in their everyday lives.

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13-year-old joins models at Belfast Fashion Week launch

A 13-YEAR-OLD schoolgirl from Co Down was among 20 of Ireland's top models who helped launch Belfast Fashion Week, despite concerns she is too young to take to the catwalk.

Darcy Brittain-Dissont modelled several of the hottest trends for the upcoming Autumn Winter season, which were showcased at the show's launch in Life Church on Bruce Street.

Crowds packed into the city centre venue where they saw the Hillsborough teenager model ahead of her catwalk debut at Fashion Week in October.

It comes just weeks after criticism that the schoolgirl, who attends Friends School in Lisburn, is not old enough to enter the world of adult modelling.

13-year-old joins models at Belfast Fashion Week launch

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The 13-year-old was unveiled by CMPR managing director Cathy Martin on her Facebook page, along with a series of professionally-shot photographs in which the child posed suggestively in denim hot pants in a children's play park.

Children's charities expressed disquiet with Barnardo's NI commenting that it "supports... guidelines that models should be at least sixteen".

Ms Martin defended her decision earlier this month and said all potential models "are interviewed with parents or guardians - to assess their personality and maturity for the job".

"We found (her) to be a responsible and mature 13-year-old who wants to model, and has chosen to do so with her parents' consent," she said.

Darcy's mum Brenda also spoke publicly of her support and stressed her daughter's education was also vitally important.

To mark the twentieth season, 20 models hit the stage yesterday for the launch of the West Coast Cooler Fashionweek, which returns from October 15 to 18.

Some of Ireland's top models showcased the new Autumn/Winter 2015 styles - giving fashionistas a taste of what to expect at the show itself, including suede, bright colours and fringe detailing.

Local designers and independent boutiques will showcase their ranges as well as international high street brands.

Speaking at the launch, Ms Martin said: "In terms of trends for this season, fashion fans should prepare for a stunning palette of winter brights, particularly oranges and pinks, and these will be used a lot in modern, graphic prints as well as in bold, block colours.

"It’s also time to rummage through your Grandma’s wardrobe for inspiration, as tweeds and prints akin to chintzy interior fabrics abound.

"In terms of fabrics and textures, winter often brings more interesting tactile looks, and this season suede and luxurious velvet are celebrated as well as a bit of fluff and fur."

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