By Bradford Mumpower • Fashion Designed & Created by Bradford Mumpower •Photography by Juan Carlos Silva • Makeup by Jessica Lane • Hair by Luke Taylor
For many Pittsburghers, the “In” colors each season are Black and Gold. A new team in town is looking to change that: fashion designer Bradford Mumpower and creative duo Jessica Lane and Juan Carlos Silva. This team became acquainted with each other’s work on Facebook and Instagram shortly before they met at a Pittsburgh fashion industry meet-up and realized they shared a philosophy and desire to bring national attention to the Pittsburgh scene. Two photoshoots and one outof-town fashion show later, and the trio moved in together at the Ice House Studios in Lawrenceville.
Juan Carlos Silva, a native Venezuelan, moved to Pittsburgh in 2013 after waiting 17 years for his green card. Silva was a wedding and fashion photographer in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, a city three times the size of Pittsburgh. After six months of manning his own booths at bridal shows and getting no work, Silva was ready to hang up his camera and took a job washing dishes at Franco’s in Aspinwall. He had worked his way up to cook when Franco’s closed in 2016.
Jessica Lane began her makeup career at 13 when she started doing the makeup for Harrison Middle School’s theatrical productions. This was before the age of YouTube, so Lane taught herself by studying Cosmopolitan and replicating those techniques. After high school, she attended Empire Beauty School and received her cosmetology license. She got married and took five years off to start a family. Wanting to get back in to the business of makeup, Lane started to seek out opportunities. Through a series of fortunate events and $50 of dollar store makeup, Lane landed her first bridal makeup job. Looking to gain more experience and exposure, Lane began contacting photographers on Facebook, offering her services to amateur models and photographers.
Working as a massage therapist since 1999, Bradford Mumpower brought his understanding of the body when he emerged onto the fashion scene in 2014, showing his first collection at Pittsburgh Fashion Week. Mumpower learned to sew at Cut and Sew Studios, now in Morningside, and taught himself pattern making on craftsy.com. Prints and bright colors have been the calling cards of his collections, often using Dutch or African wax prints in unexpected ways. Unconventional materials have also been a draw for Mumpower and he’s won multiple local fashion design competitions using materials such as garbage bags, maps, plumb line and icicles.
The earlier beginnings of this team started in 2016; Silva realized he could not abandon his dream to be a photographer in Pittsburgh. He began shooting with local models to continue building his portfolio and hone his skills. He had developed a small following in the city and while on a photoshoot met Lane, who was doing the make up. This chance meeting was the beginning of a fantastic collaboration. Working together, they created a one-stop shop for models with Lane doing hair and makeup and Silva taking the images and doing all post-production. An opportunity developed to create comp cards, a marketing tool akin to business cards for models, showing the latest and best of their portfolio. Model Society Elite was created to provide portfolios, education and support for aspiring models. To complete the team, they decided they wanted to collaborate with a local designer. After seeing Mumpower’s first solo fashion show in January of this year at the Ace Hotel, they decided to join forces.
They believe the best way to communicate as artists is often through images, not words, and work began on a photoshoot to capture what this partnership wanted to do. Creating a team of all local talent, they recruited models to help realize their vision. This photoshoot aims to bring larger-than-life heroines to the page. Strong women emerge from the smoke, armed with fashion and beauty to bring vibrant color and life to a black and gold world. This is a glimpse of what they believe can be cultivated in the Pittsburgh fashion scene. Grab a seat, and watch.
Sheer Organza Jacket with black trim accents; Black fringe dress made with garbage bags. Model: Brielle Walker
Grey Recycled Canvas Crop Jacket with Zipper Tail; Grey Recycled Canvas Side Zipper Trousers. Model: Macey Whipkey
Dutch Wax Print Top with Asymmetrical Zippered Front; Black Recycled Polyester Pants. Model: Tiffy Tindell
Green Linen Biker Jacket; Dutch Wax Print Maxi Skirt. Model: Brielle Walker
For more information, visit bradforddesignstudio.com