In women’s fashion, trends come and go – with hemlines, silhouettes, and patterns s
hifting in popularity each season. Modesty is often secondary to glamour on the runways of Paris and Milan, but the tides are now turning in the borough of Queens. Enter Emet’s first fashion show. On a runway at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, the timeless beauty of tz’nius took center stage. “This fashion show was intended to be more than just a fun evening. The theme was ‘Dress to Impress Hashem.’ It was designed in partnership with a team of student leaders who set out to showcase a sensitive topic in a way that was non-threatening and relatable,” said Ms. Adina Fendel, Emet Women’s Director. The result was an evening of education and a celebration of the style power of tz’nius – a look that’s always in fashion.
Similar to the debut of any new collection, Emet’s first fashion show involved careful planning and collaboration. The first step was consulting with Rebbetzin Tehila Jaeger, a long-time educator at Emet’s weekly Ateret Emet Seminary. “We wanted to make sure this was appropriate from a Torah perspective, and Rebbetzin Jaeger was not only supportive, but she also gave a tz’nius class in her home to all the show participants,” Ms. Fendel explained. “Understanding the guidelines of tz’nius was an important prerequisite, since each girl selected her own outfit to wear.” As another option, Rebbetzin Chaya Kalazan taught a class on tz’nius, as well. Once the halachah was reviewed, the next step was reaching out to modest clothing stores to arrange donations and loans. With clothing companies on board, it was time to coordinate outfits that suited the unique style of each participant. The final collection was thoughtfully curated into an array of wearable looks. All the seasons were covered, as well as practical selections for school, business, and travel-wear. There were options for formal occasions, Shabbos, and a night on the town. Pointers were even provided on how to walk, so all the girls would feel confident on stage.
Elegance was on display as the crowd gathered for the big night. After an enticing buffet, Rebbetzin Devorah Kigel set the stage with a captivating lecture on her own journey to modest dressing. All eyes were on the runway when emcee and co-organizer Amanda Koptiyev started the show. First, she shared her own story with grace and candor. Then, in typical fashion show style, Amanda described each look, but added a meaningful Emet-inspired twist. After walking the runway, each participant was asked personal questions about her spiritual and tz’nius journey. The heartfelt words of the participants were even more attention-grabbing than their gorgeous clothes. “It was so inspiring to see like-minded women coming together in the name of such an important mitzvah. Tz’nius is such a touchy and personal topic, so creating an event like this wasn’t easy,” Amanda said. “We wanted to showcase realistic, modest outfits and get girls involved who are going through their own process of growth in tz’nius.”
Attendee Janet Izrailova appreciated the personal story behind each outfit: “The tz’nius fashion show was an inspiring event for me. As someone who struggles with consistency in this mitzvah, it was nice to see each girl share her story and journey in getting there. This shows us that we are all on the same path, and we can help each other along the way.”
Sharona Malakov, who brought her positive energy to organizing the event with Amanda, commented on the feeling of belonging among the group. “My favorite part about the show was how everyone felt at home and like they belonged, whether they walked the runway or sat in the audience. Everyone had fun and also felt more sensitive to tz’nius.” She also noted the importance of learning the halachah in preparation for the event. “It was incredible to see that there was clearly siyata diShmaya with our first show. Adina was adamant about having everyone go to a tz’nius class beforehand so that we would be successful. It was a real learning process. I hope to be involved again next year.”
The evening came to a close with everyone joining together, singing and dancing joyously to “It’s geshmak to be a Yid.” Attendees received store discounts as parting gifts, and Emet girls were spotted updating their wardrobes the very next day!
Emet would like to thank event sponsors Japparel and Junees, as well as Maya’s Place and Udel, who also graciously loaned clothing for the show.