News Story

Toronto Fashion Show Encourages Conversation About Modesty and True Beauty

On March 26, 2016, women and girls from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across Toronto, Ontario, gathered to celebrate true beauty by hosting a fashion show featuring modest clothing.

In the months preceding the event, the Toronto Ontario Stake Young Women leadership invited Mormon girls and women of all ages to prepare for the fashion show by discussing the topics of modesty and individual worth in their individual congregations. Volunteer models were asked to submit explanations of what modesty means to them and photos of themselves in their best modest outfits.

One young girl from the Don Valley area, excited about the idea of modelling modest clothes, encouraged her mother to model with her. Another model, a mother from Richmond Hill, designed the clothing she and her daughters showcased on the catwalk.

Members of the Church believe that modesty is an attitude of propriety and decency not only in dress and grooming but also in language and behaviour. “All daughters of God have beauty and worth, regardless of what we wear. Our inner beauty radiates outward as we understand who we are and what we can become,” said Melissa Popiel, president of the Toronto Ontario Stake Young Women organization. “Modesty is an eternal, divine principle manifested in our thoughts, attitudes and actions, showing to ourselves and others around us that we know we are daughters of a heavenly King.”

Amber Kozak, a volunteer model from Scarborough, said, “True beauty … is when we act Christlike. Nothing is more beautiful to me than when someone is kind, loving, caring, generous and grateful. True beauty is something that comes from within. It is not defined by our outward appearance."

Friends and family helped make the fashion show complete by volunteering their talents. They set up a catwalk in the Toronto Stake Centre. Lighting specialist Emily Lalonde brought in professional lighting to light the runway. DJ Michael Deeks, husband to one of the Young Women leaders, provided the music, setting the mood for the important message the models delivered through their outfits and attitudes. Jocelyn Tan, a Church member who is an esthetics instructor at the North American College of Information Technology, invited some of her students to assist with the makeup for the models. Two photographers were also present to capture the beauty of the clothing and the models.

“I think the real strength of this experience,” said Popiel, “is [not only] in the number of people who have responded to the theme of the event, … [but more importantly] how they are talking with each other and seeking to build one another across age groups.”

After the fashion show, the audience and participants joined hundreds of thousands of other women, young women and girls around the world via Internet broadcast for the Church’s general women’s session. The meeting, held twice a year, concluded the day’s events in Toronto as mothers and daughters, friends and sisters, sat side by side to receive counsel from their leaders as they talked about love, service and helping others.

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