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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Pure Fashion Radiates Inner Beauty
Catholic girls demonstrate how modesty can combine with style.

two girls fashion show
Kendra Kathol and Isabelle Lam show fashion can be stylish without being revealing. WCR photo, Chris Miller.

June 4, 2010. Edmonton, Alberta (Canada). The following article was first published in the Western Catholic Reporter. Reprinted with permission.


EDMONTON - If you´ve got it, that doesn´t mean you have to flaunt it.

The statement sums up Pure Fashion´s year-end fashion show, a celebration of style, personality and virtue. The gala dinner and show were held May 31 at West Edmonton Mall´s Fantasyland Hotel ballroom.

The fashion show featured girls ages 14 to 18 from Holy Trinity Parish in Spruce Grove-Stony Plain.

"The confidence it builds is so immense. They take this with them far beyond tonight. It reassures the positive that they don´t usually get within the media and magazines. It´s nice to be reassured that they can still be beautiful without looking too sexy or being too exposed," said Linsay Willier, a fashion model and runner-up on Canada´s Next Top Model, 2009.


An inspiration to aboriginal girls who want to make it into modelling, Willier coached the girls on runway lessons in the weeks leading up to the fashion show.

"It´s not cool to talk about being modest and respecting yourself," she said.

"I think it´s great they´re putting this on to take away the stigma, and let the girls know that they don´t have to follow the crowd, that they can wear what they feel comfortable in, and still be beautiful."


Jessica Holmes and Jessica Bedard - collectively known as "Jessica Squared" - got involved in Pure Fashion when the
Alexis fashion girl
Sarah Alexis combines style with modesty. WCR photo. Chris Miller.
program was being promoted at their parish. At first, Holmes showed no interest in participating.

"I´m kind of the more sporty, scholarly type and I don´t know anything about makeup or fashion," said Holmes.

"I don´t spend my spare time shopping and I have no idea what to do with a mascara brush. So when I heard about Pure Fashion through Holy Trinity Parish, I didn´t even think twice because I didn´t believe the runway was for me."

With some persuasion from Bedard, Holmes gave in, believing that the eight-month, faith-based program might be a good opportunity for the girls to grow in friendship and faith.

Sure enough, the girls enjoyed the program so much that they would like to return in a year or two as Pure Fashion leaders and provide for younger girls what their leaders provided for them. Emphasizing their inherent dignity, the friends have learned to dress and behave in accordance with that dignity.

"The value of Pure Fashion is that they teach girls how to dress modestly in a way that is not provocative," said Bedard. "It´s showing your beauty from within, reflected through what you wear and how you act."


As the mother of a model, Kari Mullin said the program was helpful for her daughter and her friends.

"It really taught them to dress modestly and build their self-confidence, and let their beauty from inside shine through. They don´t have to dress seductively or anything like that. It enforced our Christian values,"
Erica fashion show
Pink dazzler takes Erica MacQuarrie out to a special occasion. WCR photo. Chris Miller.
said Mullin.

All of the formation and activities were great experiences for her daughter, Steph. Outside of modelling clothes for the parents and guests, the girls have learned how to be confident leaders in their schools and communities. They took training sessions on table manners, social etiquette and public speaking skills - lessons that assist them when they deal with the public and enter the workforce.

Another proud mother, Brandi Jodoin, has a 16-year-old daughter who has been interested in fashion throughout her teen years. Like many girls her age, she struggled with trying to serve the Lord in the way she dressed.

"She was already a member of the Challenge team in Spruce Grove, so when this opportunity came up, she was so excited to learn what she can about fashion and still be able to keep some standards of modesty," said Jodoin.

"It´s really empowered her to feel good about the choices she´s made, to learn to place makeup and do her hair, and public speaking that makes her a part of the world but not of the world."

Since her involvement in the Pure Fashion program, Belle Alexis, from Alexis First Nation, thinks critically about the choices she makes, the merchandise she buys and the way in which she presents herself to the world. She wants to serve as a role model for other young women and reaffirm their innate value.

"Our community is struggling with modesty and its Catholic faith. Girls are suicidal there, which is sad. Our community picked the top Catholic girls to go in this program and learn and share with their communities as role models," said Alexis.

In preparation for the fashion show, Sarah Alexis told the WCR she was nervous and excited. When she approached the runway her heart started beating fast and she had butterflies in her stomach. But the whole experience was wonderful and she enthusiastically recommends the program for her friends.

"It shows them how to be confident in themselves, and how to truly believe in yourself too. It shows you a lot of stuff that is meaningful and worthwhile," she said.

Introducing the models was Brenda Sharman, the founding national director of Pure Fashion. Working in the fashion industry for more than 25 years, the 1990 Miss Georgia USA has helped the program remain at the forefront of the "modesty movement."

Entertaining the guests was the French-Canadian chanteuse Janelle, from Lloydminster. Her music is aimed at bringing souls closer to Christ.



Related links web site
New Gate Tours
Institute for the Psychological Sciences
Magdala Center
Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College

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