Couture for a Cause down arrow

Hosted By

Greg Olsen & Ian Thomas

of the Carolina Panthers

Within every child lies great potential waiting to be fulfilled. Children with autism are no exception. As their family, friends, and champions, Autism Charlotte along with our supporters have promised to help local children with autism achieve their full potential. We are proud to present our 7th Annual Couture for a Cause gala, Carolina Couture, where local entertainers, designers, hometown heroes, and guests will come together for an evening of inspiration and impact and to help us keep our promise to the over 6,000 school-age children in our community who live with the daily challenges of autism.

Friday, April 3rd, 2020

Mint Museum • Uptown Charlotte • 7-11 pm

Fashion Show • Auction • Food & Drinks • After Party

Showcasing Five of Carolina's Hottest Fashion Designers

See past events 100% of all proceeds benefit Autism Charlotte

Tickets on sale now

All ticket levels include:

  • Cocktail Social
  • Heavy Hors d'oeuvres & Drinks
  • Live Musical Entertainment
  • A Unique Boutique Experience
  • Live Auction with Incredible Packages
  • Interactive Fashion Show
  • Dessert & Dance After-Party
Formal Chic Attire. 50% of each ticket purchased is tax deductible.

$1,500

Platinum
Patron

  • Includes Admittance for 4
  • Exclusive VIP Pre-Mingle
  • Premier VIP Table Seating
  • Personal Table Service
  • Chilled Champagne
  • Platinum-Level Guest Gift
  • VIP Valet Parking
  • Venue Name/Logo Display*
  • Program Name Listing*

buy tickets

$250

Gold
Patron

  • Includes Admittance for 1
  • Reserved Front Row Seating
  • Gold-Level Guest Gift
  • Valet Parking
  • Program Name Listing*

buy tickets

$150

Silver
Patron

  • Includes Admittance for 1
  • General Seating
  • Valet Parking

buy tickets

Donation Patron



Unable to attend the event but would like to support our mission with a 100% tax deductible donation?

donate now

*Ticket purchases made by 2/28/2020

About The Hosts

Greg Olsen

Greg Olsen, drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 1st round of the 2007 draft, joined the Carolina Panthers in 2011. While professionally Greg is a standout Tight End, three time Pro Bowler, and two time All Pro, his personal accomplishments far exceeds all he has done on the football field. Greg is a dedicated husband and father of three beautiful children and a loyal friend of the Charlotte Community. He and his lovely wife, Kara, are committed philanthropists and have done and continue tremendous work through their Heartest Yard Foundation and with the Levine Children’s Hospital. Greg and Kara’s passion for issues impacting children extends much beyond their own foundation and has led to their current involvement with Autism Charlotte. They are delighted to be part of this year’s event!

Ian Thomas

Ian Thomas, drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the 4th round of the 2018 draft, is a rising star among the NFL’s most elite Tight Ends. A Baltimore, Maryland native, Ian quickly settled into his Charlotte community and almost immediately became an advocate for local children living with the challenges of autism. Motivated by his cousin, who is diagnosed with autism, Ian joined forces with Autism Charlotte in 2018 and has consistently used his platform to increase awareness, acceptance, and inclusion for the very special children and youth the organization serves. In 2018 and again in 2019, Ian represented Autism during the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign. In 2019, his cleats were designed using the authentic artwork of children served by Autism Charlotte. Ian is thrilled to auction those cleats during this year’s event and is excited to have his friend and teammate, Greg Olsen, join him in hosting the evening.

Meet the Inspirers

Dr. Karla Robinson

Inspired by Little Miss Olivia Yates

As a healthcare professional, I have a full appreciation for the intricate challenges that families affected by autism must tackle each day. These families often live in isolation and without the support and resources their children need and deserve. Autism Charlotte seeks to alleviate the many stressors that families affected by autism face, including the intangible issues that most families unaffected by autism never have to consider. I count it an honor to partner with Autism Charlotte to help raise funds to support and advance their mission “to help children with autism reach their full potential”.

My 2020 Couture for a Cause campaign is inspired by Little Miss Olivia Yates, who is a true miracle child! Born at 24 weeks and 6 days, Olivia was a mere 1 pound 6 ounces at birth. After suffering many grave complications related to her extreme prematurity, her parents were given a very grim outlook. Doctors predicted that Olivia would never walk or talk, and if she survived would likely be in a vegetative state. Despite the odds, 96 days later Olivia was discharged from the NICU and went home with her parents. In the months that followed, she developed smiles and made gestures. She later began to crawl and amazed the world when she walked at 17 months old. Olivia soon said her first word and would later learn to read! In spite of many challenges that children affected by autism face, Olivia has defied all odds and continues to soar. She has been enrolled in Autism Charlotte’s inclusion-based programs for the past several years, and now a middle school student, she continues to grow and thrive. The friends she has made and the many experiences she has had through Autism Charlotte’s programs have been such a blessing to her family that they can hardly find words to express their gratitude.

Please click the donation link and help us reach our $10,000 fundraising goal in support of the over 6,000 school-age children in our community who live with the challenges of autism. Also, please don’t forget to get your ticket to the April 3rd event, where Olivia, my daughter (Laila), and I will be “Rocking the Runway” in the Couture for a Cause Fashion Show!

James & Lyndsie Day

Inspired by Little Master Lucas Day

Our campaign is inspired by our adorable 4-year-old son, Lucas, who lives with the challenges of autism. While we were terrified upon receiving the initial diagnosis, and the journey since then has been extremely difficult, today we have hope. With an array of services and support, Lucas continues to make much progress and has an incredible future ahead of him. He will certainly need help and inspiration along the way, but we now know that Lucas can and will thrive!

As parents who are navigating this journey, we know firsthand the profound impact that an autism diagnosis can have on the entire family. We want to share our story about the daily challenges we face caring for our son, with the hope that our experience will lead to greater understanding, acceptance, and inclusion of those with autism. We also hope that others will join the effort and become champions for children and families in our community who are living with the daily challenges of autism.

Please click the donation link and help us reach our $10,000 fundraising goal in support of the over 6,000 school-age children in our community who live with the challenges of autism. Also, please don’t forget to get your ticket to the April 3rd event, where we will be “Rocking the Runway” in the Couture for a Cause Fashion Show!

Scott & Robyn Turner

FORMER CAROLINA PANTHERS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR,
CURRENTLY WITH THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Inspired by Little Master Harry Turner

Our campaign is inspired by our most loving, kind, never met a stranger son, Harry. Every parent dreams of a happy, healthy, fulfilling life for their children, but an autism diagnosis can suddenly alter that reality and totally rock a parent’s world. Knowing full well the range of emotions and feelings of hopelessness of having a child diagnosed with autism and the daily challenges that follows, we are excited to be part of an effort that provides hope and possibilities despite the diagnosis. We truly believe in Autism Charlotte’s mission to “help children with autism achieve their full potential”, and we want to help make that a reality for the thousands of local children, who like Harry, live with the challenges of autism.

Please click the donation link and help us reach our $10,000 fundraising goal in support of the over 6,000 school-age children in our community who live with the challenges of autism. Also, please don’t forget to get your ticket to the April 3rd event, where we will be “Rocking the Runway” in the Couture for a Cause Fashion Show!

Little Master Pierce Pope

Inspired by Master Preston Pope

For the entire 11 years of my life, I have lived with my older brother, Preston, who has autism. Despite the challenges he lives with, Preston has taught me a lot. He helped me learn to read, to appreciate the nature around us, and to simply enjoy life. The most important thing that I have learned from Preston is that all people are unique, and that their differences should be celebrated. I want to use my campaign to spread awareness about how people with autism have amazing brains that can help to change our world into a better place. I am just trying to promote acceptance of some incredibly amazing people who have so much to contribute to this world.

Please click the donation link and help us reach our $10,000 fundraising goal in support of the over 6,000 school-age children in our community who live with the challenges of autism. Also, please don't forget to get your ticket to the April 3rd event, where my brother, Paxton, and I will be “Rocking the Runway” in Preston’s honor.

Austin P. Duke

Inspired by Little Master Karsen Clowney

As a Charlotte native, I am committed to supporting child-related causes in my community, and I was stunned to learn about the alarming rate at which autism impacts our children. I was fortunate to meet some of the youth that Autism Charlotte serves, and was honored to collaborate with them to facilitate their Inaugural Football Experience for youth with autism. Meeting Karsen was an absolute blessing in my life. Karsen is a fun, energetic, and joyful child, with whom I very quickly connected. Inspired by Karsen’s life story of living with the challenges of autism, I knew I had to get involved, and my Couture for a Cause campaign was therefore launched. My desire is not only to promote awareness and raise money to help children, who like Karsen live with autism, but to be a resource, vessel of light, and example of leadership in Karsen’s life. I want him and other children who share his journey to know that despite whatever obstacles they may face in life, they can still achieve their dreams and goals.

Please click the donation link and help us reach our $10,000 fundraising goal in support of the over 6,000 school-age children in our community who live with the challenges of autism. Also, please don’t forget to get your ticket to the April 3rd event, where Karsen and I will be “Rocking the Runway” in the Couture for a Cause Fashion Show!

James & Kirkland Cobb

Inspired by James' Journey

I (James) am inspired by all those children like me, commonly termed "high functioning,” who feel they'll never fit in. Those children get up every day and know they are going to make big mistakes. They crave recognition and affection, but are terrified of acting to obtain them. It takes real courage to persevere through high school without giving up on friendship or love. Many withdraw into their hobbies, preferring to focus on the one thing they know they like to do rather than try to change their situation, because they’re worried they’ll always fail. I used to think the same way, but now I’m doing better than 16-year-old me ever thought. If I can do it, so can these kids. I hope to convince them of that.

I am also inspired by the parents of these kids. It is hard work raising any child, let alone one who has trouble even imagining another perspective than their own. My own mother and father left no stone unturned on my behalf and it still took until I was almost 22 before most of life’s important lessons began to really sink in. For all those families, my brother Kirkland and I are here to tell them it’s worth it to keep going. Keep trying new things, keep trying to make connections, and don’t give up!

I am doing this as a young man on the spectrum who suffered greatly during his childhood.

Through some successes, but far more failures, I have grown into a confident young man, pursuing my passion to teach history at the college level. I am a member of the Queens College wrestling team, a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, a loyal friend, a very grateful son and devoted brother. Thanks to supportive parents and my own perseverance we want to give hope to families everywhere, that they might see the potential in their own sons or daughters.

Please click the donation link and help us reach our $10,000 fundraising goal in support of the over 6,000 school-age children in our community who live with the challenges of autism. Also, please don’t forget to get your ticket to the April 3rd event, where my brother, Kirkland, and I will be “Rocking the Runway” in the Couture for a Cause Fashion Show!

The Designers

The Mannequin Group’s Creative Directors, Tony Howard and Berhan Nebioglu, will produce the Couture for a Cause Fashion Show, themed Carolina Couture. The show will feature the work of six of the most exciting designers in the industry, all of whom share Carolina roots. The Mannequin Group’s approach to the runway is fun, interactive, and super entertaining. You have not experienced a fashion show until you’ve seen the performance this group puts on … it is certain to be A SHOW! An added bonus is that not only will gorgeous models strut incredible designs, but some of Autism Charlotte’s amazing kids and the people they INSPIRE will also Rock the Runway!

H Designs

By Tony Howard

Tony is a proud Charlotte native who is an artist, designer, and stylist. His work has been featured in blogs, magazines, television, and on runways across the nation. Tony is the recipient of many fashion awards and was most recently nominated as "Best Freelance Artist" by the prestigious AMG Heritage Awards. His work spans beyond the runway to style and design for nationally preforming bands and professional theatrical productions. Tony’s clientele includes high profile names such as the Charlotte Hornets, America's Next Top Model, and MTV. Known simply as "The Artist," Tony is proud to have worked closely with some of the best in pageantry, including Miss America, Nia Franklin, and the reigning Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst.

Tony’s designs and runway presentations represent bold, creative, and artistic ideas with a bit of whimsy! He often uses unexpected objects and unique vintage pieces to complete his couture looks. Tony’s personal motto is "Fashion Is Art ... You are the canvas.”

House of Underwood

By Larry Underwood

A North Carolina native, Larry developed a flair for fashion at a very young age. His fashion success landed him in NYC, where he continues to make his mark in the fashion industry. Larry’s client list includes many professional actors and national recording artists. He has been featured in fashion publications such as Vogue, Alpha Fashion, Fashion Ave News, 7 Hueshommes, Kaltblut, Asian Fusion, Cool American, and Urban Ink. Larry’s inspirational and memorable silhouettes embody his unique taste for fabric, print and texture that have wowed audiences across the nation since 1988.

Pixton Design Group

By Kim Pixton

Based in Charlotte, NC, Pixton Design Group is best known for their elegant bridal gowns, formalwear, and swimwear. Also specializing in custom costumes and pageant attire, Pixton Design’s amazing creations have been worn by some of Charlotte’s most elite women and are available for purchase in many high-end retail locations.

Designer Nelli Levental

Nelli is an artist, illustrator, designer, and art educator with two MFAs - from Moscow, Russia, and Boca Raton, Florida. She has been teaching Art and Design and exhibiting in galleries across the world for many years. Among many talents, Nelli’s professional fashion design experience includes costume and exquisite accessory design that never ceases to WOW!

L. Howard Artistry in Leather

Professionally a New York based attorney and lobbyist by day, destiny led Laddie Howard to design. His custom heirloom leather pieces for men and women are classic, luxurious, and unique. Laddie’s pieces are a total work of “art” and have been seen during New York Fashion Week, Charlotte Seen, and on runways across the globe

Boutique Ellerbe

By Laverne Ellerbe

LaVerne, owner of Ellerbe's Alterations & Boutique Ellerbe's, has been in operation for over 30 years. She provides a wide range of fashion alternatives including design, alterations, jewelry, and amazing accessories for both men and women.

Model Coach

Berhan Nebioglu is one of Charlotte’s most observable fashion icons. She views modeling, clothing, and accessories as art and a means of self-expression. A huge supporter in the arts society, Berhan has trained, refined, and contributed to the success of many talented models.

Thank you to Our Partners

Mythic Audi of Charlotte US Bank