Briskin remembered  

Briskin remembered  

Green and blue sparkle wings attached to 6-foot tall fairies toting raffle tickets, greeted shoppers this past Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Monroeville Convention Center for the 2011 Designer Days patron event.

In its 41st year, the “Resale Fairytale” opened its doors a day early for a special sneak peek at this year’s goods. The goods being rows and rows of clothing racks stuffed with new, gently worn or vintage inspired dresses, jackets, sweaters, pants and evening wear ready to be taken to a new home in the name of charity.

Designer Days is an annual event founded by the National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section.

This year’s theme, “Reinventing Fashion/Reinventing Lives,” specifically promoted their newest endeavor, the economic independence of women, and partnered with other women specific programs, Gwen’s Girls and POWER (PA Women in Early Recovery). Designer Days remains one of the major fundraisers for NCJW.

“This is about shopping. I repeat, this is about shopping, shopping for a good cause,” event chair Henry Krakovsky reiterated to participants during the opening ceremony. Shoes, shirts and shoppers were just a few of the many things that filled the Monroeville Convention Center that rainy Thursday evening as one of a kind treasures were found, claimed and purchased.

Arms piled high with name brand and vintage finds flitted in between the seemingly endless clothing racks. Every so often one would disappear behind the giant curtain, a makeshift dressing tent, in the far right corner of the massive main room. En route to the dressing room, shoppers were led past a doorway that opened up to whole new room dedicated entirely to women’s accessories and shoes. It truly was a resale fairytale.

In addition to Gwen’s Girls, a gender specific program helping young women break current cycles and live successful lives and POWER, an organization that helps women reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction, Designer Days also honored a third partner for their transformative work in the Pittsburgh community, the Howard Levin Clubhouse, a community for adults whose lives have been disrupted by mental illness.

All three groups accepted awards and recognition during the patron event for their contributions to the people of Pittsburgh.

The racks stopped squeaking during the ceremony when the late Cuddy Briskin was remembered. His daughters, Nancy Terpack and Barbara Shapira, stood by as members spoke fondly of his dedication and the many volunteer hours he donated to Designer Days over the years.

Briskin’s eye for perfection and quality contributed to the success and positive reputation of the annual event.

The evening also included a preview of Carl Herrmann’s latest furs, a raffle and silent auction with generous donations from local Pittsburgh companies, including American Eagle Outfitters, Sephora, Salon DeStefino and many more.

Honorary Chair Kiya Tomlin donated her fashion sense with two handmade, Vogue inspired outfits that were also auctioned off at the end of the night.

The event came to a close with happy shoppers carrying off their hand picked goodies in reusable garbage bags — or in some cases, giant cardboard boxes — and a helping hand by event goer and new NCJW member Amy Platt, who hopped behind the register to lend an extra hand.

NCJW President Hilary Spatz began her Designer Days shopping in 1971, first as a law student, and she continues the tradition today as she works the register alongside other volunteer and community members.

Nearly 250 volunteers came together this year to help contribute to the cause.

(Jessica Svec can be reached at