“Pure Fashion” Shows for Girls Catching on – Meet “Modesty Guidelines”

by Hilary White

Pure FashionCALGARY, May 1, 2006 ( – Pure Fashion Shows are catching on in many cities of the US and even in Canada. Pure Fashion is a project associated with the Challenge Clubs for girls in grades 8-12 run by the lay organization, Regnum Christi, a Catholic movement associated with the Legionaries of Christ. Pure Fashion has been described as “models on a mission” to show that girls and women do not have to be “frumpy” to be modest and feminine.

Pure Fashion bills itself as an international “faith-based” program that trains girls to dress, wear make-up and style their hair in accordance with Christian principles and “rediscover and reaffirm their innate value and authentic femininity.” Girls learn deportment and public speaking skills, table manners, and etiquette as well in the Calgary Pure Fashion Model Training program. The course is aimed at helping “young girls develop into young ladies,” through monthly training sessions.

The Pure Fashion shows, accompanied by “contemporary Christian” soft rock and pop music, feature the girls who have taken the course dressed in modern fashions that meet the “modesty guidelines”.

Many parents have watched with horror as increasingly younger girls imitate the fashion offerings on MTV (and Canada’s equivalent, Much Music) that seem to become more sexually explicit every year. While Pure Fashion focuses on teaching young girls make-up hair styling techniques, however, there is little emphasis placed on stopping the trend at its roots. In the Pure Fashion program, little is said about Christian notions of detachment from the world’s obsession with appearance.

Many studies have shown that the extreme emphasis on fashion, and physical perfection, in teen culture is a huge contributing factor in a host of adolescent psychological and social disorders including anorexia and bulimia. The National Catholic Register, a Catholic newspaper owned by the Legionaries, in its coverage of Pure Fashion and the Challenge Girls’ clubs, quotes studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics that have found half of Saturday television commercials are aimed at young girls and focus on physical appearance.

The Pure Fashion website says that young girls’“bodies are holy and sacred and our clothing should not reveal what should be concealed.”

The clothes featured, however, are a far cry from the buttoned-down American Gothic stereotype. Indeed, some parents of a more traditional frame of mind might complain that the skirts are still well above the knee, sleeves are often entirely absent and necklines cut low even for very young girls. And many Christian parents might balk at the group’s images of heavy make-up on girls younger than sixteen or seventeen.

Pure Fashion lists its specific “modesty guidelines” on its website, including dresses that cannot be “too tight-fitting,” and no shorter than “four fingers above” the kneecap and dresses are to have a “modest neckline, no lower than four fingers below collar bone.”Â

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