BYU-Idaho apparel students start at the drawing board, move to the computer-aided design software, transfer to the sewing machine and end on the runway. Stitch after stitch, apparel students dedicate hours to creating and designing their collections.

BYU-I is the only Church Educational System with an apparel design and entrepreneurship program.

According to the Department of Home and Family, “This degree will prepare students to work in the fashion industry or to develop their own apparel-based small entrepreneurial business either from the home, online or in the start-up business arena.”

Before these students showcase their designs on the runway, their work is put through a modesty check. Some individuals may ask how these students keep up with the trends of the world while still maintaining a modest life.

Sarah Liddiard, a junior studying apparel design and entrepreneurship, became interested in fashion because of her great-grandmother. Liddiard’s great-grandmother was a seamstress and taught her daughter how to sew. This tradition was passed on to Liddiard when she was seven years old.

Sarah Liddiard models a dress she designed.

Sarah Liddiard models a dress she designed. Photo credit: Em Pew

At first, Liddiard didn’t want to pursue the fashion industry as her career, but when she came to BYU-I, she realized apparel design was her passion.

“​​I love art, and I love creating visions,” Liddiard said, “I’m putting things together in my brain, and it’s magical.”

Alexis Bleak, a senior studying apparel design and entrepreneurship, had a different journey into the world of fashion.

In high school, Bleak had a friend who started an all-in-one dress, shoe and makeup service to help high schoolers prepare for school dances. Bleak realized that this opportunity aligned perfectly with her interest in sewing, so they went into business with each other.

When she arrived at BYU-I, Bleak saw an Instagram takeover that was conducted by an apparel entrepreneur student. Instantly, Bleak messaged the student on Instagram to find out more about the apparel design and entrepreneurship major.

She was hooked.

The fall fashion show with the theme Seasons of Change. Camille Haupt, Alexis Bleak, Annie Diviney, Sarah Liddiard and Rebekah Luce.

The fall fashion show with the theme Seasons of Change. Camille Haupt, Alexis Bleak, Annie Diviney, Sarah Liddiard and Rebekah Luce. Photo credit: Sarah Liddiard

“In school, we design all of our pieces for ourselves, and when you get out to the workplace it is very much about what the customer wants,” Bleak said. “You can have good ideas, but all of your opinions kind of need to be backed up, or, I mean, they don’t really work for the business.”

When creating clothing that will be successful in the industry and will express respect for their bodies, apparel students have to think outside the box.

“I feel like that is the challenge of sticking to your standards, and I mean there is modest fashion, and some people really strive for that,” Bleak said. “But the mainstream, like everything you see, I feel like it’s just a competition of who can wear less and less clothing.”

Apparel students have a goal to make clothing that will stand out but make those who wear their designs feel confident.

“It’s to make other people feel good, and to feel good about their body and how they’re viewed by others and by God,” Liddiard said. “As we learn how to care for our body, and to bring out its natural beauty, we learn how to cover it.”

Students in family and consumer sciences have a passion for making a difference in the fashion industry because of their individual life experiences and the experiences they’ve obtained at BYU-I.

“Modesty is more just a way of being,” Bleak said. “The way that I’ve looked at it is like not drawing so much attention to you. Whether that be your clothing, your hair, your whatever but just being a modest person.”

For more information about BYU-I apparel design, visit their Instagram.