By Sara Bauknecht
Stitch together the traditions of India with the comfort of Pittsburgh living and the chicness of New York City, and you’ve got the style of fashion designer Sheena Trivedi.
Since 2012, when she launched her first collection, the 30-year-old Pittsburgh native has been making a name for herself in the New York and international fashion scenes with women- and menswear that combine classic and contemporary design elements.
“I wanted to create garments and a line that isn’t a hassle to wear,” she says. “What makes me the happiest is (seeing) someone walking down the street wearing something I created. That’s the most amazing feeling.”
Her clothes were paraded down the runway during New York Fashion Week, which concluded last week. Pieces that were featured were from her spring/summer 2015 collection.
She credits her family for fueling her interest in fashion at a young age. She attended events at India Fashion Week during her family’s trips there, and her mom is an accessories designer.
“It’s always been part of my life,” she says.
After attending boarding school in Switzerland as a teen, she returned home to study international business, marketing and sales with a minor in Spanish at the University of Pittsburgh, followed by taking part in an entrepreneurship program at the university’s Katz Graduate School of Business.
In 2009 she moved to New York City. To get her foot in the city’s competitive fashion world she participated in workshops at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons at The New School. She put her new knowledge of the industry to work as a buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue.
“I wanted to learn a little bit about everything,” she says.
Starting a fashion line also has presented its share of on-the-job learning.
“Everyday I face challenges. It’s the fashion industry. It’s one of the most cut-throat industries,” she says. “There’s the creative sense and there’s also the business side. You can make pretty things, but if it doesn’t sell and you can’t deliver there’s no point.”
She strives to differentiate her style from what else is on the market by keeping her aesthetic an amalgamation of her background. Her clothes are made in a factory in New Delhi, but she designs them in New York. Many pieces mix fabrics, and they can range from jersey to chiffon. More elaborate styles are embroidered by hand.
And there’s a bit of Pittsburgh in there, too.
The city possesses “a comfort factor,” she says, adding that she incorporates that comfort into her collection through luxe interpretations of streetwear. “That’s the whole essence of Pittsburgh. It becomes one big family. Everyone comes together, especially when the Steelers are playing.”
Her latest collection that debuted at Fashion Week is entitled “Lovers of Today,” partly influenced by her own recent wedding.
“It almost struck me like a lightning bolt,” she says about falling in love. “If you look at the collection there are a lot of references to lightning bolts and weather. … At the end of a rainy day there’s always something good that comes out of it.”
So far good things have come her way. Her clothes are carried at boutiques across the country, including two international accounts.
Her dream is to open boutiques someday in the places she loves: New York, Paris, India and, of course, her hometown.
“You can take the girl out of Pittsburgh, but you can’t take Pittsburgh out of the girl,” she says.