“Rose Marie Takes a Stand,” Friend, May 2020
Have you ever had to take a stand for something you felt was right—even though others told you to do what was popular instead?
Rose Marie Reid stood up for what she believed. She was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was also one of the world’s most famous swimsuit designers.
When Rose Marie was growing up in Alberta, Canada, her mom taught her to sew. She used scraps of fabric to make clothes for her dolls. But she never thought she would become a fashion designer.
It all started when her husband needed a new swimsuit. Back then, swimsuits soaked up water and became heavy when they were wet. But Rose Marie had an idea. She cut up fabric from an old jacket and used it to make her husband’s new swim trunks.
Her husband liked his swimsuit so much that he showed it to a local store. The store asked Rose Marie to make 200 suits to sell. And just like that, Rose Marie was in business!
Next Rose Marie started making swimsuits for women. They were beautiful and comfortable. They came in different sizes and fit different body types. Soon her designs were so popular that she moved to California, USA, and built a factory for her new company.
After Rose Marie moved to California, the prophet made an exciting announcement. The Church was building a temple in Los Angeles, the city where she lived! Rose Marie wanted to help. She designed a white, sparkly swimsuit and invited Relief Society women to help sew on the sequins. She sold the swimsuits and donated the money to help build the temple.
As time went by, Rose Marie’s swimsuits became more and more popular. Famous movie stars wore them in movies. But in all the dazzle and glitter of Hollywood, Rose Marie never backed down from her standards.
One time a cigarette company offered Rose Marie a lot of money to advertise their cigarettes. Rose Marie knew that smoking was against Heavenly Father’s commandments. She didn’t want to encourage other people to smoke. “You know the answer,” she said. “I couldn’t possibly support a cigarette company.”
As styles changed, more women were choosing to wear swimsuits that Rose Marie felt were immodest. Everyone thought she should start designing suits in the latest styles. But Rose Marie took a stand.
“I don’t like that style of swimsuit, and I don’t want to design for a company that makes them,” she said. Her business partners wouldn’t listen. Finally, Rose Marie decided to leave the company she had started. It was a hard choice. But she knew that standing up for what was right was more important than doing what was popular.
Of all her designs, her most important project came as an assignment from President David O. McKay and Sister Belle S. Spafford, the Relief Society General President. They asked Rose Marie to help design temple clothing.
So instead of designing swimsuits in a large factory, Rose Marie set up her sewing machine in her own home. She spent hours cutting patterns and sewing white fabric. “This clothing is beautiful and sacred and precious,” she said. “Designing it is the most important calling of my life.”
When you have a hard choice to make, you can remember Rose Marie. You can stand up for what’s right. You can use your skills to bless others and serve Heavenly Father.