Pure Fashion is, of course, an apostolate of Regnum Christi, which itself is an offshoot of the Legion of Christ. The website doesn't hide the connection like some other Regnum Christi-associated groups or publications have sometimes done; to be fair, even apostolates like Kids for Jesus (K4J), the Catholic VBS program, now put the Regnum Christi "label" on their websites, where of a couple of years ago I had to dig a bit to discover the connection. So perhaps the openness of Pure Fashion's association with Regnum Christi is part of a new policy by that organization to identify more clearly the groups which are linked to it, which is a good thing.
I have a few problems with RC, and indeed with the Legion of Christ. Since the details involve a family member I won't disclose them publicly; suffice it to say that the family member experienced some of the negatives of Legion life as described at this website, though certainly not the more horrific elements. I have known others who have spoken about their association with either LC or RC in similar terms: the association of the Legion and its goals with the Church, the difficulty in voicing any complaints, however legitimate; the difficulty in leaving the group even when one has made one's intentions in that regard quite clear.
And one of the troubling aspects of LC/RC efforts is the focus on money.
I'm not saying that religious orders shouldn't solicit donations, or charge a fair price for their programs and materials. But take a look at this post from an ex-RC blogger who has looked at the prices involved in the Pure Fashion shows:
In Atlanta, there were 60 models, each of which had to pay $450 to participate. Additionally, each young woman had to raise $1000 in sponsorship from friends, family and businesses. Then each participant was responsible for selling 20 tickets to the fashion show at $40/each.
Thus we have each girl bringing in $1000 + $450 + $800 = $2250 x 60 for a net total of $135,000.
Now what does that money go for?
The clothes are donated.
The accessories are donated.
The hair-styles are donated.
The venues for meetings are free (i.e. Pinecrest).
The speakers are in house, meaning volunteers.
The photography for the event is donated (and if participants want pictures, they are purchased separately).
The $40 ticket price ostensibly covers the venue. So we'll separate out that money to conclude that the Legion walks away with $87,000 each year.
And that's for one fashion show. There seem to be 29 cities participating in the Pure Fashion program; while model training fees seem to vary (anywhere from $250 to $350 plus application fees from what I saw) I'm not sure from the ex-RC website whether the "$450" the model is supposed to pay to participate includes that sum, or is separate from these model training fees.
Just looking at it as a mother of daughters, though, I have to consider the fact that for my girls and I merely to go to one of these shows it would be pretty expensive. The Dallas show's prices, for instance, for this past year were $55 for "elite seating" near the runway or $45 for general seating. So even if Mr. M. didn't want to come (and who would blame him?) the girls and I would be looking at $180 to attend the event, not including such things as parking etc. That sum represents a little more than 1/3 of the cost of our educational materials for the next school year, to put it in a little "family budget" context. For us to spend anywhere near $200 for an afternoon's entertainment I think something like this would have to be playing; but for a fashion show?
To be honest, I'm starting to wonder a little about this whole enterprise. Many girls do enjoy fashion, and there's certainly nothing wrong with directing their innate love of beauty into something that strives not only for modesty but for God, reminding them that the things of this earth are not lasting, and that expensive clothes and finery will not really make them happy. But I have to question whether an apostolate like "Pure Fashion" doesn't end up undermining that second part a bit, parading exquisitely-coiffed and expensively-dressed girls down a runway in front of people in the community who have paid $40 to $50 a person to see them there. Modest clothing, after all, isn't meant to be a luxury of the rich; and vanity is a temptation to nearly every woman who has ever encountered a mirror.