I lay on the chaise lounge of my screened-in porch reading a book while waiting for my friend Amanda to pick me up. We were headed to a fashion show and I was clad in jeans and sandals. The only “fashionable” thing I donned was a silky spaghetti strap top. I wondered if it was enough.
I live in Asheville–where jeans and flip-flops can be worn most anywhere. But I realized this might be my one chance to dress up and not be the only one. So I put the book down, and headed inside to see what my closet held. A short black skirt replaced my jeans. I slid my feet into heeled Mary Jane’s and looked in the mirror. Completely out of place for a Monday night in Asheville, I thought. But then nothing is really “out of place” in a town where bumper sticks implore us to please “Keep Asheville Weird.”
Amanda arrived dressed in her business casual. We drove the two miles into town, parked and started our walk toward the venue, my feet reminding me that the shoes I wore are a pair I consider “sitting shoes”: they’re not ideal for walking down bricked sidewalks, or for walking period.
As we walked down Broadway, a car pulled up beside us. The driver, a guy in his thirties with tousled hair, said, “Excuse me. Do you know of anyplace around here to get fresh vegetable juice?” Pause here just a moment. Take in the scene. A man. My age. Asking where he can get vegetable juice. I’m sure there are other places on this earth where this might happen, but I have never lived in one.
Amanda and I sputtered through some answers. “Green Sage?”
“They’re closed,” he said.
I racked my brain. I’d seen places around town whose menus included home-made concoctions like this, but none came to mind.
“Maybe Rosetta’s–all their food is vegan,” said Amanda.
“And if they don’t have it, they’ll know someplace that does,” I added. With that, we sent him off.
Upon entering the fashion show I was floored by how many women donned dresses and heels. I’d never seen so many well dressed Ashevillians in one place.
Those of you that know me may wonder what possessed me to attend a fashion show–me, the girl who rarely shops and, if she does, does so in consignment stores. Well, this wasn’t just any fashion show. It was a benefit for the Asheville Community Theater. In true Asheville style, the four categories were: paper, light, nature, and upcycled/recycled. Mind you, I’d never heard the word “upcycled” until I moved to Asheville. There’s an entire shop here dedicated to such things: items made from something else. Purses made of old seat belts caught my eye last I stopped in there.
The winner in the upcycled/recycled category was 11-year-old Luc Clerici, who fashioned a dress out of labels from plastic water bottles and Campbell’s soup cans. In the nature category? A dress made with plenty of fresh flowers all of which I imagined would be composted after the show. Composting is the norm here, after all.
After the show, we chatted with friends as designers walked by carrying their fashions to their cars: outfits crafted from playing cards, DVD covers, and socks.
The night wound down and Amanda and I headed back to the car. And I made a mental note to find out who in town makes vegetable juice, because I’m sure it’s not the last time I’ll be asked that question.