You’ll Find TONS at New Fashion and Lifestyle Concept Store in East Liberty
The opulent two-story space by restaurateurs Adam and Diana Kucenic features a variety of luxury fashion, lifestyle and home brands not often found in Pittsburgh.
After years of operating a slew of successful Pittsburgh restaurants, among them Muddy Waters Oyster Bar, Bird on the Run and Kahuna, alongside her husband, Adam, Diana Kucenic was ready to dip her toes into something else — and it had nothing to do with food.
It had to do with fashion.
“Moving to Pittsburgh, I love it here, it’s great, but I always felt like something was lacking,” she says.
Last November, the Kucenics soft launched TONS, a luxury fashion and lifestyle store, in a former design atelier along Baum Boulevard in East Liberty. After spending the winter getting the store ready, TONS held a grand opening near the end of April.
“We were finishing up with the furniture and the brands arriving over time,” Kucenic says. “We feel like we are completely ready now.”
Kucenic, who grew up in Russia and once worked as a buyer for her mother’s fashion stores, says she wanted to bring an elevated commercial experience to Pittsburgh. Besides an assortment of luxury, contemporary and streetwear brands such as Acne Studios, Jil Sander, Marni, Coperni and Mastermind, TONS carries beauty products, home decor and other lifestyle items — including yoga mats, home fragrances, gifts and area rugs — at a variety of price points.
“We regularly engage with people from Google, CMU and Duolingo and we wanted to offer the people of Pittsburgh a local destination for fashion,” Kucenic says. “Many people that we communicate with shared that they rely on traveling to NYC or Los Angeles when wanting to update their closets with the latest collections, and TONS is here to solve that.”
Once inside, the two-story space is as striking as the products.The Kucenics tapped NWDS, an international team of architects, to design the concept store’s opulent interior, which blends fashion, art and culture. For example, there are imported Italian pieces, such as a Paradoxical Hi-Tech armchair by Piero Lissoni, a Mate chair by (a+b) dominoni and glass items by Glas Italia. Large-scale works of art by Alexander Brodsky are hung throughout the building.
Combining client and work spaces, TONS’ buyers and managers have their desks parked next to the sale rails on the first floor; guests also are welcome to take a peek at the fashion photo shoots happening on the second level. Kucenic says the store’s layout was inspired by retailers such as Colette, a high fashion, streetwear and accessory retailer known for its spacious concept store in Paris.
“There’s a little bit of everything here, really,” she says. “We try to make sure everyone who enters the store can find something for themselves.”
TONS also is collaborating with NWDS on a line of furniture that will reflect the textures and prints found throughout the store. Kucenic says she is finishing details on the line, also called TONS, which will be produced in the country of Georgia. Once completed, the pieces will be available in the store and worldwide, she says.
The store also teamed up with Los Angeles-based brand BTFL Studio for a “City of Bridges”-inspired capsule collection featuring a graphic tee and interchangeable long sleeve tee with a 1914 blueprint for the bridge from the Monongahela bridge company, a hand-painted, organic recycled cotton hoodie, worn carpenter shorts, a black leather catch-all, a travel blanket and a vegetable-tanned leather vest. Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Tre Norwood stars in the fashion shoot dedicated to the line.
Kucenic adds collaborating with brands on custom and exclusive capsule collections is a targeted goal for TONS that also includes amplifying young fashion and art creatives. Already, the store has hosted Carnegie Mellon University students for a three-day pop-up as a part of the school’s Lunar Gala show. Pittsburgh Steelers free agent linebacker Marcus Allen also held a popup event at the store for his clothing brand, Vibes Universal, on June 3.
“The support from professional and collegiate athletes all across the tri-state area has been overwhelming,” Kucenic says. “We have watched Pittsburgh transition from a steel and coal town, to an innovative city thriving in technology and health care. The same is happening with Pittsburgh fashion, and we are happy to be at the forefront of this movement.”