Could dressing modestly become the new trend in teen fashion? One Charlotte, North Carolina, woman believes so.
When 18-year-old Kendall Jenner arrived at the 2014 MuchMusic Video Awards, many people were shocked by the model’s revealing dress with high slits that exposed her pelvic bones.
As stars like Selena Gomez and Rashida Jones have spoken out against the need to be sexy, Shari Braendel is also questioning why society finds young scantily-clad stars normal.
With her character-based program, Reveal Your Dignity, Braendel is trying to change that by empowering young women with fashion industry training.
“We are going to flip the fashion industry right side up to have these girls understand that they don’t have to dress this way,” Braendel told ABC News today. “They are beautiful, creative and fabulous without showing their bodies.”
The fashion industry veteran decided to start Reveal Your Dignity, which kicks off its first training session Aug. 2, 2014, in Charlotte, after traveling and speaking about fashion at Christian women’s conferences.
“I was at the mall one day and thought, ‘Why are these girl dressing this way with very little clothes on, revealing their bodies?’” Braendel. “What if I could train up some young women who have a love for fashion?”
For $279, teens can attend a 5-hour session with fashion educators and 10 months of follow-up online training. The program trains young high school girls to become junior stylists, with skill sets that include how to dress appropriately for their body type and how to compliment and encourage young girls they might one day become role models for.
"My whole concept in this is to help girls understand that what they wear shows others what they are," Braendel said.
One of the main lessons of the program is how to dress “lovely. If you dress sexy, you’re going to attract sex. If you dress lovely, you’re going to attract love,” said Braendel.
To look lovely, according to Braendel, girls should have no bra straps or busts exposed. Clothing shouldn’t be too tight, and “bottom booty exposure” is discouraged, she said.
Seventeen-year-old Mattie McGinnis said her style has changed since joining the program.
“Everyone’s super into the crop tops and high-waisted shorts,” the Charlotte teen told ABC News. “I’m able to incorporate that style but incorporate it modestly. I don’t look like I’m showing off all this skin.”
McGinnis said that her friends are also interested in learning how to look stylish but in a modest way.
“You think you have to show your skin, and you think you have to dress a certain way,” she said. “You learn that you don’t have to show all that skin.”
Braendel isn't sure how many girls will sign up for the first Reveal Your Dignity session, but she is hopeful that her program will change fashion industry standards and the way young women think about fashion.
"I know there are girls sitting at their houses right now, who have a love for fashion and don’t know what to do about it," Braendel said.
"I want to show them that they’re worthy and that they’re valuable. They don’t have to go out half-dressed."