Fashion show gives models their dignity back

  • September 8, 2009
{mosimage}TORONTO - Fashion and modesty shared the runway at the Pure Exposure fashion show Aug. 20.

The show, created by summer interns at Campaign Life Coalition in Toronto, featured a team of nearly 30 young models at the Woodbine Banquet and Convention Hall, with pulsing music and a classy backdrop for the benefit of pregnant mothers in need.

“My main passion for this show (was) just to try to get women to look at themselves with respect, to tell them they can still have style while being modest and having respect for who they are,” said Agnese Nunno, 20, one of the show organizers.

Nunno said she didn’t understand how dress affects people’s perception of others until the past year or two as she expanded her circle of friends.

“Going to a public high school, I just went with the trends for some years. I just wanted to fit in,” she said. “It’s only really in the past two years that I realized the way you dress most certainly does affect the way people look at you. You may be the sweetest girl in the world but the impression you give with your clothes may say more than you realize.” 

Lisa Canning, a past designer on HGTV’s Marriage Under Construction and a Ryerson University graduate in fashion communications, took the stage as the evening’s MC.

“A person who understands that the body has dignity and wants to be treated with dignity, dresses in a way that commands that dignity from other people,” Canning said.

Canning tried to bring out the character and personality of the models by giving the audience details such as where they study, what they do for a living and what hobbies they have.

While today Canning mostly deals with interior design, for her, modesty in fashion is an undying passion which she explored in her thesis two years ago.

“I realized there was a clash between the values of the fashion world and the values that I held as a young person and as a young Catholic,” Canning said. “And what I think is important is for young girls, as they’re getting into their teenage years especially, to learn that you can still look hip and cool but you don’t need to bare all.”

As a new mom, Canning said she also wanted to be a part of the show because of how proceeds would be used. Money raised in a silent auction of accessories and a public auction of several dresses worn in the show will go to help pregnant women in need.

“(Pregnancy) is very real and it really changes everyone’s eyes from that moment,” she said.

While she and her husband welcomed their son excitedly, she said her heart goes out to women who are dealing with pregnancy unexpectedly, with little or no support.

Pure Exposure also featured guest youth speaker John Espadero, who talked about modesty and perception from the male perspective.

“Immodest dress doesn’t show too much — I would say it shows too little,” Espadero said, explaining that it often distracts men from the heart of a woman and tempts them to conquer rather than protect.

He said women need to “set the bar high” when using fashion to express themselves.

Proceeds from the event had not been tallied as of The Register’s press deadline.

Clothes used in the show were donated by Jacob, Costa Blanca, Sears, Winners, Living² and The Embellished Room.

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