Mike Terry, Deseret Morning News
Ashley Phelps, left, a member of the Spanish Ridge Ward in Spanish Fork, and other members of the Canyon View Stake participate in a stake-sponsored modest-clothing fashion show held in mid-March.

SPANISH FORK — When Kelsey Hiskey walked down the runway last week dressed in her white, ruffled wedding dress with her fiance, Jared Glenn, the point of the faith-based fashion show was clear — when young women wear modest attire through their teen years, they are creating a pathway to their church's temple marriage.

The Canyon View Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a fashion show to demonstrate to teen girls and their parents that modest fashions can be cute, comfortable and convenient.

It also showed that modest fashions are available in Utah dress shops and department stores, despite complaints to the contrary.

The roots of the fashion show, however, are in Southern California, not Utah. Spanish Fork Young Women leaders first grasped the idea from a stake in the Golden State, said Lana Hiskey, who helped plan the event. She is Kelsey Hiskey's mother.

Transplanting the idea resulted in the first fashion show in 2003, which emphasized formal and semi-formal wear. Last month's show expanded on that theme, showing what teens can wear in everyday life, as well as special occasions.

"You can wear modest clothing and still look really cute," 15-year-old model Ashley Phelps said. She was one of 67 teens picked to model the clothing borrowed from local stores.

The girls learn modesty at home, stake president Brent Butler said. But the intent of the fashion show was to popularize it among the teens' peers.

"We support home standards," Butler said.

Directed by Liz Stoddard, who called on professional set designer Rick Josephson to design and build the set in the church's recreation hall, the show depicted a city scene with high-rises in the background and a lighted runway.

An integral part of the event was picking out the clothes. Women in the church took the girls to area stores to do that, Stoddard said. The process took several months.

"It is important to really feel beautiful," Stoddard said.

"Our goal is the temple," Kelsey Hiskey said. "This is a great way to direct people to get to the temple."

Immodesty, on the other hand, can lead to poor choices, she said.

"It was a great way for young girls to see their options," Glenn said.

Wards in the stake paired up to present a theme or style, beginning with sportswear and casual clothing, concluding with girls from all the wards modeling formals and semi-formals. Along the way, they represented a variety of styles, including school casual, nice casual and church dressy.

Between the fashion sets, Elvis impersonator Kerry Summers entertained, along with dancers Natalie and Matt Butler, Savannah Martin and Edynn Shaw; singers Susan Ronson Ruiz and Samae Smith and a live band.

Organizers also employed the volunteer talents of professional model Holly Hoke, makeup artist Sharon Hatch and hairdresser Tracy Frazier.

So how did Kelsey Hiskey feel about letting her fiance see her in her wedding dress long before their planned June 5 wedding?

"Oh, this isn't my wedding dress," she said. "It hasn't come in yet."


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