By Jennifer Osborn
originally published in the Ellsworth American, March 16, 2018
BLUE HILL — Two of Blue Hill’s most creative denizens are producing a fashion show at the Mainescape Garden Center greenhouse on Thursday, March 29, at 6:30 p.m. to benefit the Tree of Life Food Pantry.
“I love the idea of doing a gala in Blue Hill,” said Julie Fehrle. “I love the TurnStyle, I always find great stuff there.”
Models will wear fashions from the TurnStyle Thrift Shop, the sales from which have funded the food pantry’s purchase of food.
Fehrle is a set designer for TV and film by trade. However, she’s currently doing art installations worldwide for artist Ara Starck. She’s also remodeling Wendy Hayes’ shop MAE on Main Street in Blue Hill for the upcoming season.
Her fellow producer is Harbor School freshman Max Rhine, who aspires to a career in the fashion industry.
“I didn’t know him before this,” Fehrle said. “He emailed me out of the blue based on a friend’s recommendation. He said ‘I’ll do anything you’re doing.’ Then when I met him, I realized how much he’s into fashion.”
Fehrle said she’s dreamed of doing an event like a fashion show in Blue Hill for years. Since Rhine wanted to do a project with her and she’s been working out of town, the fashion show took shape with Rhine’s leadership.
“I think he’s learning a lot about diplomacy and organization,” Fehrle said. “I think he’s learning a lot about what it takes to organize something of this size. I could not have done this without him. It’s also interesting because the Harbor School encourages this kind of learning. He has discovered how fun it is to shop there too.”
Rhine said Fehrle “has an incredible atmosphere of creativity around her.”
“She is always coming up with new ideas for the fundraiser that we’re working on,” he said. “It’s been incredibly fun and exciting working with her and I’ve learned a lot from her.”
The pair has recruited peninsula residents of all ages to model. High school students will be modeling outfits they chose from the TurnStyle last weekend.
Local residents will model outfits from their closet that they no longer wear. Those fashions will be donated to the thrift shop after the show.
“A lot of the stuff that gets donated they can’t keep because it’s not in good condition,” Fehrle said.
“A huge part of it is taking the stigma out of buying thrift, number one, and also educating the public about that thrift store,” Fehrle said. “The other thing for the kids, it’s affordable. Your money is feeding one of your neighbors, basically. I think that’s another important part of it.”
Past Tree of Life Board President Judi Hilliker said on average the pantry provides food for about 215 families or 600 to 700 people every week.
“We spend about $130,000 on food in a year and two-thirds of that money comes from sales of donated clothing in the TurnStyle,” Hilliker said. “The rest comes from grants and donations.”
The fashion show, which includes a dance party and refreshments, is for all ages.
Volunteers are still being recruited as well as refreshments. For more information about helping, email firstname.lastname@example.org.