Today, I was inducted into the Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame with several other worthy honorees. The event was held at the Omni William Penn. Photos, video, and a full transcript of my acceptance speech can be found below.
(Dress: Diane von Furstsenburg. Jewelry: Kate Spade, Givenchy, and Pandora. Shoes: Nine West. Clutch: Botkier. Wrap: Vintage. Belt: Express. My husband’s sweater: Rag + Bone.)
Video of Acceptance Speech:
“Thank you so much, Miyoshi. Thank you all for being here. This is such an honor.
Some of you may be wondering how and why a writer is winning a fashion award. But to me, fashion and writing are both art forms. They are ways to express, and ways to inspire. It is fitting, too, that the ballet was here today, because, as we all know, sometimes, finding the perfect outfit is an elaborate dance.
As for me, I’m known more for my social media presence and my health advocacy work as Arthritis Ashley and as author of the book, Sick Idiot, among other works, than I am for my fashion and pop culture blog, Glitzburgh. I am also known for animal welfare work and being a ‘crazy pet mom.’ But to me, all of these worlds, from writing, to health, to animals, can, at times, intersect with fashion. My volunteer and consulting work with brands like WearWoof and Paws N Claws combine my love for animals and fashion. But fashion relates strongly to my health coaching and patient advocacy work, too. Here’s how:
At at time when I was still playing with – and designing for – my Barbie dolls, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition that was, and still is, anything but chic.
Then, as a teen, who felt outcast because of health problems and being a ‘smart kid,’ fashion and clothing provided me with a safe haven, a creative outlet, and a way to cultivate my identity beyond that of a nerd or a sick girl. Even when I faced bullying for my outside-of-the-box fashion choices in high school (and for walking with a limp,) I never let it get to me. In fact, I began taking fashion design courses alongside my writing classes and even was voted Best Dressed my senior year: a manicured middle finger to the haters.
I used to want to be a fashion designer, or do PR in the fashion industry. But I soon realized that my health wouldn’t allow me to keep up with that fast-paced world. This isn’t a sad story though. I started blogging, and writing, and fashion simply became a hobby and an interest of mine rather than a full-time career choice. I used social media to find fashion-related writing jobs, and keep up on the latest styles and trends on my own time.
It is a wonderful thing, however, to be able to feel beautiful on the outside when many times, I am hurting or sick on the inside. Fashion gives me that luxury. And it allows me the luxury to feel like a woman instead of a patient.
It is also a wonderful thing for me to be recognized for something so very cool, something aside from my advocacy work and my illnesses. I may not be in the industry per se, or the best-dressed or most fashion-forward in the room at any given time, but what I am is always true to myself — myself that both fashion and writing have helped me to discover.
So thank you to Pittsburgh Fashion Week, particularly to Miyoshi and Diane, to my mom and my husband who are here with me today, and to all of my family and friends who have supported me throughout the years. Thank you all for allowing me to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw today.
And, I’d like to end this by saying that I do believe that true beauty comes from within, but a nice handbag, and a DVF dress like this one, sure don’t hurt.”
(more can be seen via Instagram.)