Christian Fashion Week Review for Christianity Today

fashion matters whitney bauck christian fashion week review

If you’re connected to Unwrinkling on social media, you probably already know that I wrote a piece for Christianity Today about Christian Fashion Week that went live last week. (If you didn’t know, go get your social media game on and like/retweet/follow to stay better connected!) This piece came out of a visit I made to Tampa in February after engaging in a long dialogue with founder of Christian Fashion Week Jose Gomez last year.

Here’s a snippet of the piece, which you can see in full over at Christianity Today:

Despite changes for the better, 2015 may be CFW’s final year, due in part to losing sponsorship from Zondervan. But many attendees believe it will stay afloat. “The great thing about a Christian Fashion Week is that there can always be a resurrection,” Jose told me, only half kidding.

And whether it’s via CFW or some other program, Christians are participating in fashion every day—by purchasing one brand over another, joining in the latest denim trend or not, choosing what to wear to work, or deciding how to talk to kids about their school’s dress code. Further, some fashion insiders as well as theologians are doing the intellectual heavy lifting to develop a deep biblical engagement with clothing. One such person is Lucy Collins, a professor at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. She says that Christianity informs her work because “ideally faith should saturate every aspect of our lives.”

“Fashion matters because bodies matter,” Collins said via email. “We are not disembodied beings existing only in a spiritual realm. We have to reconcile ourselves to bodies, the sensual and the creative. And fashion is a means for doing that.”

(Continue reading here)

Besides writing about CFW myself, I also got to interview one of my personal heroes, Bob Covolo. Bob is a Ph.D candidate at Fuller Seminary currently working on a dissertation about fashion theology. You should also check out the piece that resulted from our interview, which you can find in full on Christianity Today:

Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper famously said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’ ” Like Kuyper, I want to understand every aspect of human life in relationship to Christ. This set me on a quest to understand the fashion industry and emerging fashion studies.

The Bible doesn’t directly address fashion, which today refers to the rapid interplay of clothing in consumer societies. But the Bible has a surprising amount to say about clothing. Right from the beginning, after the Fall, Adam and Eve became aware of being “undressed.” Then God provides for them in their nakedness. Theologians call this a protoevangelium—literally a “first gospel.” The gift of clothing reveals a God who meets us in our shameful, sinful condition and covers us through a sacrificial death.

…To truly engage fashion as Christians, we need to move beyond explicit verses about dress and examine the underlying values that are reinforced by fashion. Some of these values are good. It is no accident that modern fashion has arisen alongside suffrage and other aspects of democracy. The two cities known best for fashion—New York and Paris—are major cities in countries that have had powerful democratic revolutions. If we all get to choose what to wear, we are already practicing a form of voting for the public decorum.

(Keep reading here)

Thoughts, questions and feedback about either of these pieces is welcome. Feel free to leave a comment or reach out on social media to let me know what you think!

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