Some of you may remember the extensive dialogue I exchanged with Christian Fashion Week founder Jose Gomez after he responded to a critique I had made of CFW’s emphasis and mission last February. I received a press release from Jose this week announcing the lineup of designers for this year’s event—as well as the fact that this year will be the last for Christian Fashion Week.
Further information from the CFW website revealed that the event will be closing down because of funding issues. Zondervan Publishing, one of CFW’s major founders, pulled out this year, and two different fundraising campaigns appear to have been unsuccessful.
While I’m not happy to see CFW go down—for all it did imperfectly, it was still a bunch of Christians trying to do something in the fashion industry, which is better than no engagement at all—I’m not exactly surprised, either. Jose noted on the CFW blog,
“Our goal was to successfully launch a fashion week that would represent the perspective and passion of the Christian community. However, when the community that an event represents does not adequately support the effort, one-of-a-kind forums like Christian Fashion Week eventually disappear. The only way for it to continue with any level of excellence is for major Christian brands, organizations, churches, and businesses to support the effort and show the world that there is a united front – a community that wants to have a voice in what is available at stores and boutiques around the world.”
Perhaps if CFW had been able to more accurately reflect the perspectives of Christianity across the board from the get-go, it could have truly helped facilitate the formation of a “united front” that would have garnered more support from the community it claimed to represent. Or maybe a “united front” when it comes to a Christian perspective on fashion isn’t quite the right goal in the first place.
Nonetheless, I was excited to see Jose state in yesterday’s press release that this year, “each brand in our showcase has paid special attention to environmental and human rights concerns. There is a culture of sustainability as well as social and environmental responsibility that counts for much more than regulating hemlines and cleavage.” Preach, brother. That sounds like something I would say (in fact, I did).
In all seriousness, though, it’s cool to see how responsive the leaders at CFW have been in addressing areas of weakness like this, even if these changes are too late in the game to help CFW stay afloat. I trust that they’ll carry this humility and openness into their next endeavors, whatever those are, and I hope they won’t give up on actively engaging fashion from a Christian perspective.