By Alex McLean
When the Fashion Collaborative’s “Future of Fashion” showcase takes place Sept. 12-14, a very special young lady will be making her debut on the runway. Thirteen-year-old Grace Maas, who is from a small village outside Nedjo, Ethiopia, will model designs created by another very special 13-year-old, Claire Williams (I hope to have more on her later).
Thirteen-year-old Grace Maas of Lexington will make her runway debut at the ‘Future of Fashion’ showcase next week. (Photo by Cristian Caballero)
Grace was abandoned by her birth parents at the age of 6 and was first sent to live with a relative. But at age 9, she was placed in an orphanage. It was in the orphanage that Grace began to “pray a good family that believed in God would adopt her.” Those prayers were answered when Darren and Rebecca Maas adopted her.
Now living in Lexington with her parents and nine siblings, Grace has overcome the pain from being abandoned by her parents and teased by other children. Rebecca Maas said her daughter is a “very creative person” who loves expressing herself through art.”
“In my free time I enjoy drawing and sketching fashion designs,” Grace added. “I am always asking my mom if I can cut up my clothes to make new designs. I spend lots of time in front of the mirror creating new hair designs and trying new makeup techniques.
Grace also aspires to be an actress and is taking her first acting class this year. She recently signed with Heyman Talent as a model/actress.
While she always wanted to be a runway model, “while living in Ethiopia I never did I think I would have that opportunity. It really has been a dream come true.” Likewise, she’s thrilled to be participating in the “Future of Fashion” event.
“I love fashion so when I heard about the event I jumped at the chance to walk in the show,” Grace said.
When the teen takes the runway next week, she will likely be “modeling” something far more important than fashion.
“One of Grace’s desires is to encourage and empower young girls like herself,” Rebecca Maas said. “She has been through a lot of pain from being abandoned and teased as a young girl. Grace has been able to overcome those feelings and has become a confident and empowered young lady.”
“The Future of Fashion” has been expanded to a three-day celebration Sept. 12-14. All events are at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center and will put the spotlight on the Lexington area’s talented fashion community.
On Thursday, Sept. 12, doors open at 6 p.m. and features the emerging designers competition. The first designer will take the stage at 7:20. Eight emerging designers will compete for first, second and third places. A highlight will be Enrique Gonzales painting a dress in front of the audience. Admission is free.
Then on Friday, Sept. 13, clothing and accessories from 12 more designers will be in the spotlight. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the first designer will be featured at 7:25. Tickets are $20 before the day of the show and $30 at the door.
Finally, on Saturday, Sept. 14, another group of designers will showcase their work, beginning at 7:40 p.m. (doors again open at 6 p.m.) Tickets are $20 prior to and $30 at the door.