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Fashion Week events set to inspire and encourage young women at Evangel

March 11, 2013 | Ashli O'Connell

Promoting healthy body image, confidence and self-esteem for female students, Fashion Week kicks off at Evangel University on Monday, March 11, 2013.

This year’s theme is Unveiled: Uncovering the Past, Reclaiming the Future.

The  focus is on helping women find identity in Christ rather than basing it on the expectations of society, says senior Mehleena Edmonds, chair of the 12-member, student committee that plans the Fashion Week events.

“We are taking ownership of our lives as new creations,” Edmonds says. “We don’t have to hide from our past or be ashamed of who we used to be. We are reclaiming our future because we have turned from the ways of our past.”

Kerry Marsh, Counseling Services staff member, says the theme also reinforces the importance of positive self-image for women. “It is important for us to promote positive body image, since one out of four college women suffers with an eating disorder, and the best-known contributor to the development of anorexia and bulimia is body dissatisfaction,” says Marsh. “Studies consistently show that people with eating disorders suffer from low self-esteem  related to body image and dieting, and intense feelings of shame about  self and body.”

The National Eating Disorders Association website reports that body dissatisfaction begins early  with 40-60 percent of girls age 6-12 admitting concern about their weight and becoming too fat.  “This preoccupation continues throughout life,” Marsh says.  “At Counseling Services, our desire is to see young women set free from preoccupation with their body size and shape, and to find their confidence, self-esteem and identity in Christ.”

Fashion Week events

Fashion FeverA women-only Chapel service will be held on Monday, March 11, at 7 p.m., in the Barnett Recital Hall. Edmonds will be the speaker for this service.

Each women’s residence hall on campus will host activities on Tuesday, March 12, and a Body Image Awareness event organized by Evangel’s Counseling Services will take place on Wednesday, March 13, at 10 a.m., in the lower level of the student union.

Marsh says the Body Image Awareness event will involve girls weighing themselves on scales whose numbers have been replaced by affirming words, looking in wavy mirrors that present a distorted body image, and viewing fun music videos with positive messages. There will also be a display featuring the four stages of an eating disorder.

Fashion FeverThe main event, Fashion Fever, begins at 9 p.m., on Thursday, March 14.

The event is open to all  female students, staff and faculty of Evangel University, Central Bible College and the James River Leadership Campus. Marsh says the fashion show allows the girls to celebrate their bodies as they are now, rather than how they used to be or how they wish they are. 

The night will showcase fashion, hors d’oeuvres and an inspirational message by Casey Gibbons, author of A Girls Life with God, co-founder of Cherish Kids and mother of five daughters. She is married to Scotty Gibbons, student ministries director at James River Assembly of God in Ozark, Missouri.

“This is an amazing event for the girls on this campus. It is an opportunity for us to come together and have a night away from school assignments,” Edmonds says. “We feel empowered and inspired by the potential we see in each other.”

This annual event also is a fundraiser, and this year, each residence hall is collecting personal hygiene items for the Boys & Girls Town of Springfield. The floor that donates the most items will be treated to VIP seating at Fashion Fever. Profits from the sale of T-shirts and other merchandise also will be donated to the Boys & Girls Town.

— Ashli O’Connell, Web content developer and editor for Evangel University

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