The Collegiate Life Investment Foundation by Brittany Jackson

RunwaySaturday evening of March 23rd, people filled the Grand Ballroom at Rhodes College by the dozens. The Collegiate Life Investment Foundation (C.L.I.F.) hosted its first fashion show entitled Distracted Runway 1.0. It was a benefit event to help raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving while showcasing local small businesses.

On February 1, 2012, Clifton B Gibbs, a Christian Brothers University graduate and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, was critically injured in a car accident involving another car whose driver was driving distracted. On February 3rd, Clifton, 23, died from his injuries. As a result, his fiancé, Larissa Redmond, also a Christian Brothers graduate, decided to create C.L.I.F in Clifton’s memory in order to help raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, whether it be texting, eating, talking on the phone, putting on make-up, etc. It is just not worth it.

runway2Attendees were able 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 Britney Jackson (me), Big Impressions designed by Demetrius Blade, and PREPared Fashion designed by Prep Curry. Even Clifton’s fraternity brothers were featured in the show as a tribute to him.

Morgan Hanna, a student at Rhodes College, and Essence Owens, Project Coordinator of the Collegiate Life Investment Foundation, helped to make Distracted Runway 1.0 possible. The event had its own special meaning to everyone involved, but the overall meaning mutually shared was making sure Clifton’s memory lived on and those everywhere know that driving distracted is just not worth it. Food was served courtesy of Davielle Boyce, owner of Davielle’s Dee-Licious Entrees, and there was a silent auction featuring the works of various artists around the city and products donated by the Memphis Grizzlies.

When asked briefly about the production and overall turn out of the show, Essence replied, “As Project Coordinator of the Collegiate Life Investment Foundation, Distracted Runway 1.0 was the first event I was given the privilege to oversee from beginning to end, being that it was the first event completely funded by the foundation. The amount of support we received from family, friends, strangers, and vendors was more than we had ever anticipated. 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, please visit

Written by Brittany Jackson, English for Corporate Communications, ’14