Student Lorie Asher lived out her dream of walking down a runway.
Updated at 10:09 a.m., March 5, to show accurate title for the Conklin Center's Lori McMullin.
Conklin Center student Lorie Asher glided down the runway at Daytona Beach's first-ever upcycle fashion show in a dress made out of old tires with confidence, ease and poise.
“I never thought I would get an opportunity like this," Asher said. "Modeling has been my dream since high school.”
It was a dream she never thought she would get the chance to see come to fruition after an accident changed her life five years ago. At age 18, she got in a car with a couple of friends and was ejected through the windshield after the driver ran a flashing red light and collided with another vehicle. Asher hadn't been wearing her seatbelt.
She was found three yards away from the car and had to be airlifted to Tampa General Hospital. Because of a brain injury, she was induced into a coma. When she woke up, she couldn't see.
Now, Asher has regained some of her vision and is a student at the Conklin Center for the blind, the organization benefitting from the fashion show titled "A New View." Port Orange resident Debbie Reaney designed Asher's dress, and she couldn't have felt more proud of her after the show on Friday, March 2.
“She’s a wonderful young lady," Reaney said with tears in her eyes.
The upcycle fashion show was one of the special events of QuiltWeek 2018. The idea for the show sprouted from a conversation between Bonnie Browning, executive director for the American Quilter's Society, and Ormond Beach resident Gail Warner, who was driving her down for a Foz News interview in Orlando. The purpose of the show was to benefit the Conklin Center and open the eyes of other creative people in the area to a new medium that could potentially make a statement that could change a consumer's habits.
“We’re so habitual when it comes to shopping that you kind of become a zombie, right?" Warner said. "You just grab off the shelf and you’re really not thinking about what you’re consciously bringing into the house but almost automatically just putting in a bin on a weekly basis and not thinking about the accumulation of that weekly bin.”
The designs on the runway were all made of upcycled materials, from mirrors and K cups to baby blue bubble wrap and plastic water bottles.
Warner said she hoped people would pause when they see the amount of everyday disposable material used on each design.
Catherine Ropp, Vice President of Marketing for AQS, said the common factor between quilting and upcycling is that both use different pieces to create something beautiful.
“To be able to do that with things you are upcycling from the environment, and you know from home and businesses and industries is fantastic," Ropp said. "So we’ve been very excited about the opportunity.”
Conklin Center Development Director Lori McMullim was pleased with the idea for the show, which raised money for the center's early intervention program.
“Not only is it going to raise much-needed funding, it’s going to raise visibility and awareness for our organization," McMullim said.
Asher might have been modeling a design called "Dark Beauty," but her inner light shone enough to be picked fan favorite by the audience, who didn't know she was the only student from the Conklin Center in the show. Asher said the whole experience was unbelievable and that she didn't expect winning.
"I feel beautiful," she said.