Fashion fix for a good cause

By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle Charles Gehring, president and CEO of LifeCare Alliance, participates in the sixth annual Fall Fashion Show Extravaganza in October. The popular runway show, which draws hundreds to the event center on Harmon Avenue, is outfitted entirely by clothing purchased at the Grove City, Reynoldsburg and Worthington Thrift Shops.
Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle
Charles Gehring, president and CEO of LifeCare Alliance, participates in the sixth annual Fall Fashion Show Extravaganza in October. The popular runway show, which draws hundreds to the event center on Harmon Avenue, is outfitted entirely by clothing purchased at the Grove City, Reynoldsburg and Worthington Thrift Shops.

Move over New York, London, Paris and Milan! The hottest fashion show on the planet has been taking place on the westside of Columbus.

For the past six years, the L.A. Catering and Event Center on Harmon Avenue has been the host to an enormously popular runway show that only grows in participation and anticipation each season.

Featured at the clothing showcase are dozens of local models who happily flaunt the clothes. But not only do these models show confidence in their wardrobe; they also have confidence knowing that none of these outfits has broken the bank or will break the bank for those who want to find a similar look on the rack.

Surprising to some, these flattering ensembles are not found at international fashion houses, but instead they were discovered at local thrift shops – three of them to be exact.

Since its inception in 2010, LifeCare Alliance (The ‘L.A.’ in the L.A. Catering and Event Center) has taken their eager clients turned models to the Grove City, Reynoldsburg and Worthington Thrift Shops to peruse the goods for the fashion shows. The most recent fashion show took place earlier this month and Grove City Thrift Shop volunteer Judy Thornton recalls the hour or so these future models spent looking through the racks for clothing to purchase and show-off at the event.

“They were very careful about what they chose to buy and wear,” she said.

Thornton said before helping the models make their purchase, she had no idea that there was a popular fashion show on the westside. She said she looks forward to catching the spring/summer collection next year.

“I honestly can’t wait to see it.”

Having worked at the Grove City Thrift Shop for a few years, she said she knows all about the negative perception some people have about the clothing at these stores. She also knows that the perception is false.

“There are some very nice things at reasonable prices in your local thrift shops,” Thornton said. “Some items still have the tags on them.”

Thornton said she is happy to know that the LifeCare Alliance Fashion Shows features clothing purchased at thrift shops.

But showcasing a fashionable wardrobe is not the only intention of the runway show, said LifeCare Alliance President and CEO Charles Gehring.

“It serves many purposes,” he said.

According to Gehring, the runway show creates excitement for all of their clients and their families, and not just the ones participating on the runway.

“It is one of the most popular events that we put on.”

He also said that it provides a spike in self-confidence for those modeling the clothing and for those looking at the clothing in the audience. He noted that most of the clothing featured are purchased for $25 or less and that makes people happy knowing that there are attractive ensembles out there at affordable prices.

Additionally, the runway show serves a purpose to the greater community.

Since the clothing for the fashion show is purchased at the Grove City, Reynoldsburg and Worthington Thrift Shops, that means that 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Columbus Cancer Clinic, an agency of LifeCare Alliance that provides prevention education, screenings and medication assistance to low-income, under-insured and uninsured residents.

Thornton said the more she learns about this fashion show and all of its benefits, the more she falls in love with it.

“It’s a win-win for everyone with maybe another win tacked on there,” she said.

Though the fall/winter collection has come and gone, be on the lookout for the spring/summer collection via the LifeCare Alliance site at www.lifecarealliance.org. Upcoming information on the runway can be found at the Carrie’s Café page and information on upcoming events can be found on the main page.

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