Given the moral decadence obtainable in the society today, Chiemelie Ezeobi writes on the move by Debbie Enemoh, the Chief Executive Officer of Love and Grace Life Events, to instill morals into young girls through her passion for Christian Fashion Show in Nigeria
It was organised to be a fashion show but with a unique twist. It was not the usual fashion show where glittering models strut down the runway, rather it was a Christian fashion show.
Held in the heart of Lekki Pennisula in Lagos, the show was organised to show that fashion can still be decent and was aimed at instilling morals at young female driven by the quest to follow fashion trends, albeit it indecent ones.
It was an evening of worship, praise, exhortation, comedy and it was capped by a fashion show at the recently opened doors of Love and Grace Life events.
Amongst the fashion designers were G-closet, who was the first one to hit the runway with her models dressed in decent yet appealing and fashion-savvy wears.
The brain child of Debby Enenmoh, the Chief Executive Officer of Love and Grace Life Events, Lekki, Lagos, the vision to instill morals in young girls through a christian fashion show was received in 2009 but only became a reality this year.
According to her, she got the vision since 2009 but I didnâ€™t start until this year. She said, “The primary thing for me is to be organising Christian events but not the normal conventional kind.
“It is something that other people from other denomination can attend. If we make it a church thing, some people may not like to come, though we still stick to our Christian values and are not going to compromise on that. That is the standard.
“Thatâ€™s the vision that was given to me by God. Every organisation has rules. Everybody can just come and enjoy him or herself. Once we say itâ€™s a church thing, we will restrict some members of other denominationsâ€™ and faiths from attending.”
On her passion for instilling morals in young girls she said, “These days a lot of young girls are not dressing properly and decently and this is causing a lot of issues in the society.
“We are losing our moral values apart from our Christian values. Nigeria is supposed to be a morally upright country since we are very religious people.
“This thing is like preaching, sometimes you preach it touches some people sometimes, it doesnâ€™t. Ours is to preach and itsâ€™ left for God to touch the hearts of people to actually change through this event.
“It is not really easy trying to change the youth who have already had their mindset made up. That is why we are targeting children.
“I have personal experience with God. I am a Christian but I didnâ€™t know that there are certain things that God doesnâ€™t like my dress used to cover everywhere but it does looks a little bit seductive and you know, men are moved by what they see.
“They are moved by sight. I got to know that and it was a learning process for me until God gave me the vision last year October to start a Christian Fashion Show in Nigeria. By that time I was doing my masters in Event Management.”
On whether her unique vision has been accepted by the society she said, “I canâ€™t tell for now whether people are accepting this vision or not because itâ€™s a new concept entirely. This is just the first event we are organising.
” I have learnt a lot from this and we have many other events that we are planning not just this Christian Fashion Show. We have womenâ€™s conference coming up later this year. This would address things like how to be a virtuous woman, women in business and packaging yourself as a woman. This will afford us the opportunity to talk about all these in more details.
“People naturally resist change but eventually when the see that you are consistent, some would go there out of curiosity to see what the event is like. I remember when â€œNight of a thousand laughâ€ started, it was like a joke. People were very pessimistic about it but it has become a big brand today. When you are good and original, definitely people would accept your vision.”
Still on the issue of indecent fashion amongst young females she said, “I am not really happy the way young ladies dress these days but I am not in any position to judge them. There is a way that I used to dress that God spoke to me and told me that the cloth were too tight. For me, I was covering my body but the cloths were too tight. And I was like, how do I dress? And I started communicating with God.
“Some people may not even know that their dressing is seductive because of different values. For instance, in UK I can dress differently because nobody looks at you twice but in Nigeria, people would ask, what is this person wearing? In UK you can wear short and bra to the beach and nobody would say anything. Itâ€™s because of that cultural difference, so, it is not anybodyâ€™s right to judge anybody.
“I have been there before and God has questioned me about the way I used to dress. When you judge people, you push them further away. People donâ€™t like hearing the truth but if it were someone closer to like a family member or a friend, I can advise the person that this thing she putting on is not good, it is capable of leading one to certain unpleasant experience in life. I would advise on the need for the person to make amend.
“The way one dresses does affects ones character definitely. The way you package yourself and go to a manâ€™s office, he cannot even think of asking you of anything like that. He would think this one is a serious minded person of course it affects you.
“On another hand, some people because they are Christian, they have that spiritual thing they go to the extreme end. Because they want to be Christians, they come out with big cloths, they take it to the extreme, they are not looking presentable, and they are not taking care of themselves. At the end of the day, they would ask why am I single at this age?
“Because nobody is coming, this fashion show is to teach such people how to strike a balance in their fashion life. How to find that balance and not to be at extreme end exposing your body and then on the other extreme end when your clothes are just too big and no man is going to look at you anywhere because you are not palatable at all.
“To be honest, this program is going to be a yearly thing. So, we are going to bring in young men as well. Even childrenâ€™s dressing is of concern to us. I have a young daughter of about three years now and I didnâ€™t allow her wear bum short because if she gets used to it, I cannot stop her when she becomes a teenager because that is what she has been wearing as a child. It looks like well this is a child let her wear anything she feels like.
“Gradually we will bring in menâ€™s fashion and other things so that it wonâ€™t be boring. Although I also approached some menâ€™s designers to also come and showcase their clothes but they were not able to meet up. Thatâ€™s why we do not have males. It was not meant to be only females but an all-encompassing event. What really made this event a Christian one is the atmosphere, the kind of music we play.”
On her unique selling point, Enemoh said, “My unique selling point is basically the fact that, the event is bringing all churches together. I donâ€™t personally like it when people ask me what church you attend. People have a perception of RCCG, Winners and Mountain of Fire. So this is a place where everybody can just come together and enjoy themselves. Here everybody is free to come, itâ€™s not about denominations. There is no barrier here. It is also an avenue for evangelism. We are also putting on structures that people would be employed based on how good they are.
“Just like a normal company and will be paid normal salary. If you are not good, you will go, itâ€™s not a matter of God called me. We want to create a plate form where people can serve God in a comfortable environment. Everyone is free to go back to his usual church on Sunday. We do our events on Friday and Saturday so that people can go to their individual churches on Sunday.”
Speaking on the role of parents in instilling morals in their children from a young age she said, “Since charity begins at home, I would advise parents to raise their children right and in a Godly way. It is from a good home training that everything starts. Like I said earlier, if I allow my three year daughter to start wearing bum shorts, I cannot stop her; she is already used to it.
“Back then when you do something wrong, it doesnâ€™t need to be your parents but anybody there would discipline you but now; even the mother would go and fight anyone who beats her child for doing wrong. We are gradually really losing our values and hence the need to remind them.
“Even recently, there are lots of rape cases going on because of those values that we are losing fast. We are trying to be westernized but itâ€™s not really our thing to be that way. We are trying to picking up something but itâ€™s not really blending. I think itâ€™s more of really getting a clear picture of it.
“If one asks God what He thinks about your dressing, which I believe many people would not like to ask. There is this thing that, when one is going to work everyone knows because of the particular way one dresses. As a Christian, there has to be a particular way one dresses as well so that you donâ€™t announce yourself as a Christian.
“You donâ€™t have to start fight to let people know you are a Christian, you donâ€™t need to explain, let your dressing and character speak for you. If you are putting on a suite everyone knows that you are going to work. Your dress would definitely tell people where you are going to.”
When asked if her passion will advocate for decent fashion trends to be taught in schools she said, “Some people are going into fashion school. I donâ€™t think fashion should be taken as a full subject but should be taught at forums like workshop, seminars and all that in schools to help students have a better sense of it.
“For me, I like to work with children because the youth have already made up their mind so I think we really need to understand the person. There is a way you can talk to the person individually. Many people because of low self-esteem feel if they do not expose their bodies nobody will talk to them. So you may actually have to talk to people individually to find out why they are actually doing what they are doing.
“Is it because of peer pressure from friends? Is it because they are angry with their parents? Itâ€™s more of having individual relationship with them. Many people just single group the youth but if you notice a child that is particularly.
“You have to talk to them and get to know why they are really doing what they are doing. Itâ€™s not everybody that is just doing it because others are also doing, some people have a purpose, peer pressure or they are dealing with low self-esteem.”