Teens blend style, self-respect at fashion show in Tennessee
In a time when pop singer Justin Timberlake is trying to bring “SexyBack,” just about everyone wants to flaunt it all.
But two members of the Concord Road church in Brentwood, Tenn., are bucking the trend and hoping to show Christian teens they don’t have to sacrifice style for self-respect and personal standards.
Lori Locke and Jessamyn Barrett recently produced a fashion show for young women to demonstrate how to develop a sense of style that doesn’t compromise their beliefs.
More than 200 students, visitors, helpers and vendors attended the event at the Concord Road building. Nineteen volunteers modeled teen fashions from Dillard’s, and others offered skin-care tips. The program also served as part of Barrett’s God Award project, the highest rank a senior Girl Scout can achieve.
“I think the average girl is interested in fashion, wants to be liked and look pretty,” said Barrett, 16, a junior honor student at David Lipscomb High School in Nashville.
“But that can bring some problems because a lot of the world’s definition of fashion doesn’t necessarily fit in with what is modest and respectable,” said Barrett, who emceed the style show.
Initially, the idea for the program came from Locke as she watched hundreds of teens at a Christian youth conference last spring.
Despite the event’s focus on a virtuous lifestyle, the clothing many teens wore disturbed Locke. She began planning a fashion show to prove to young people that they could look stylish and cute without giving up their principles.
Locke arranged for motivational speaker Dale Thomas Smith to talk to the girls about the powerful impact of clothing and actions on self-respect.
McCarley Thomas, 13, said girls feel strong pressure to present themselves publicly in a sexualized way.
“You feel like you have to dress like the people in magazines and TV programs to be ‘in,'” said Thomas, a seventh-grader at David Lipscomb Middle School.
“This show helped me realize how you can be modest and fashionable and cute,” she said. “You just have to look at it with a Christian mindset and a positive attitude.”