One event with two focuses – raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and showcasing local businesses – drew dozens to the Grand Ballroom at Rhodes College last Saturday (March 23).
The host was the Collegiate Life Investment Foundation (C.L.I.F.), which built the evening around its first fashion show entitled "Distracted Runway 1.0." At the base of the foundation is a painful story.
On Feb. 1, 2012, Clifton B. Gibbs, a Christian Brothers University graduate and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., was critically injured in a car accident involving another car, whose driver was driving distracted, and a school bus. Two days later, Gibbs, 23, died from his injuries.
Larissa Redmond, Gibbs' fiancé, decided to set up C.L.I.F in remembrance of him. She was determined to help raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, whether it be texting, eating, talking on the phone, putting on makeup or anything else in the long line of not-worth-it activities.
With that backdrop, Distracted Runway 1.0 unfolded, giving attendees a chance to see some up-and-coming designs from small businesses run by young adults. Those featured in the show were: La'Belle Couture, designed by Ashley; Team You are Bless, designed by Garrison Green; FabGlam Accessories, designed by Brittany Jackson; Big Impressions, designed by Demetrius Blade; and PREPared Fashion, designed by Prep Curry.
Gibbs' fraternity brothers were featured in the show as a tribute to him.
Morgan Hanna, a student at Rhodes College, and Essence Owens, C.L.I.F.'s project coordinator, helped make the path for Distracted Runway 1.0 possible. And while each individual had a personal take on the events meaning, the shared thoughts were making sure Gibbs's memory lived on and spreading the word the word that driving distracted is just not worth it.
Food was served courtesy of Davielle Boyce, owner of Davielle's Dee-Licious Entrees, and a silent auction featured the works of various artists around the city and products donated by the Memphis Grizzlies.
"The amount of support we received from family, friends, strangers and vendors was more than we had ever anticipated," said Owens.
"I am humbled by the knowledge and experience I've gained and look forward to continuing to expose the dangers of distracted driving."
(For more information on C.L.I.F. or information on how you can get involved, visit http://www.clif2012.org/.)