Style is not only what you wear — it’s how you act. That’s the mantra of a new fashion show that debuts Saturday at the Machine Shop. Think the catwalk, minus catty attitudes.

It’s no surprise that the brains behind the event belong to Sarah Edwards, founder of I Am MPLS, I Am St. Paul, and I Am Kindness events, which are staged annually at venues around the Twin Cities.

Celebrating individuality in a world that often rewards groupthink has been Edwards’ M.O. But never has she taken it to the world of girls and young women.

“I saw this quote recently that I really loved: ‘In a world that profits on your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.’ This is exactly what this event is about,” said Edwards. “If you like yourself, no one has anything on you.”

Edwards said she was ready to tackle the social media-infested waters of adolescence. “There’s this responsibility to help kids navigate that and it can be intimidating,” she says.

The event will feature a fashion show featuring nearly 30 girls of all sizes, shapes and walks of life. Their outfits will be styled by Davee Ek, but will be influenced by their personal style. In addition to modeling, each girl will make a plan to incorporate kindness into her life. (Read their thoughts at iambacktoschool.com.)

Attendees will be treated to a scavenger hunt and a mac-and-cheese bar, a music set DJ’ed by activist Sarah White, and a pop-up mini market. Everyone who worked on the project — from the design of the website to last one off the runway — volunteered their time in the spirit of the cause.

Edwards acknowledges that she feels the pressure of the fashion industry: She loves to pore over $10,000 Gucci dresses and buys under-eye cream that sells promises of improvement. That’s partly why she feels it’s so important to show young girls that knowing — and embracing — who you are at your core is what truly makes you stylish.

 

Katie Dohman is a local freelancer who often writes about style.