"Follow the money
Anyone who is familiar with Pure Fashion is welcome to jump in and correct my analysis here, but I'd like to break down for you the financial side of this apostolate, which in the surface does a substantially good job of promoting modesty for young women.
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.
I am not indicting the concept in the least -- modesty is woefully lacking in our culture and all who have seen Pure Fashion indicate that the clothes are lovely and the setting very classy (Ritz Carlton is the perfect backdrop for any mother-daughter luncheon, wouldn't you say?)
The problem is that this is a highly elite apostolate (how many social stratas can come up with this kind of cash for participating, much less a circle of friends who can provide the $1000 in donations?) that it seems to feed the troubling profile of the Legion which takes more than it gives (and caters to quite a high-brow clientele).
Now when I was a member, we were always passing the hat for donations for the seminarians (toiletries, sox, underwear, etc.) and our motherly hearts were touched. But methinks that an astute shopper could take this $87K and buy enough shaving cream and knickers for many, many years.
Nota bene: the numbers were sorely down this year in Atlanta. While over 3000 attendees were seen in the past, barely 1000 tickets were sold (cha-ching $40,000) causing organisers to scramble to give away the rest to make the place appear successfully full. Alas, still hundreds of seats lacked occupants.
Never fear, the Legion was never at risk of going into the red over these young ladies. The lower stratas of the population may not ever get the word on modesty through this brain-child, but the hopes for a "trickle-down" effect, no doubt, will allow all these hard-working participants to sleep well.
April 21, 2008"
Help! What is going on in Atlanta???