Local Fashionistas and Artists Went Wild to Create Eco-Friendly Dress Designs to Support Girls in Need

IBERIABANK and PACE Center for Girls of Lee County hosted the FUNky Fashion Show event in June at the Cape Coral Yacht Club. The sold-out fashion show featured one-of-a-kind pieces—made completely from recycled or repurposed items—created by individuals and businesses.

“ToniRae Hurley from IBERIABANK came to us about four years ago, and she had this fun idea to have a competition within her branch to see what people could put together with recycled and repurposed materials,” says Allyson Ross, PACE Center’s development manager. “It started small, but it was immediately well-received and just grew and grew each year. By the third year, ToniRae said we should open it up to the public, and we decided to take it on as one of our main dress collection parties.”

The featured designer was Marie C. Dyer, a local artist who has been featured in major publications and art galleries both locally and internationally. Marie’s design, called “Charting the Course for Success,” also won the People’s Choice award.

The “Southwest Florida Destination” dress by travel publisher Vector & Ink won both the FUNkiest Fashion and Runway Ready awards.

In addition to the fashion show, more than 100 “regular” dresses were donated to be sold at the Love That Dress! event, which took place in August. 

“We are responsible for raising one-third of our own funding each year, so events like the fashion show and Love That Dress! are really vital to our program,” Allyson says.

Since 2007, PACE Center for Girls of Lee County has been providing girls and young women ages 11 to 18 an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy.

For more information about PACE Center, visit PACECenter.org/locations/lee or call 239.425.2366.