Next Saturday, the mezzanine at Burlington International Airport will become a runway lined with models donning locally designed clothing in The Fashion Show 2017. And 20 of those models are new Americans.
O'Brien spoke with VPR about the months of hard work, rehearsals and choreography needed to put on such an event. She also shared the large role fashion plays in new Americans' lives.
"Fashion is so much more important on a multi-dimensional level for the new Americans than it is, I think, for some American-born," she said.
O'Brien said she worked hard to pair up models with just the right local clothing designer in order to adhere to cultural or religious conformities in dress.
"In a lot of cultures, because of their religion, women are not allowed to expose certain parts of their bodies. There are religions that are represented in the show in the new American models that can't bare their arms and can't bare above their knee."
O'Brien said, "The stores love learning about that. How else are they going to learn about that? ... It's this journey that everybody is on. And the end result is something that everybody can celebrate and feel excited about."
The Fashion Show 2017 is Saturday, March 18 beginning at 6:30 p.m.