Today, a Google search of the words “fashion blog” renders 557 million results. IFB, a website that seeks to foster community amongst independent fashion bloggers, currently has over 48,000 members.
In a cyberworld already drowning in people trying to share their two cents about the stuff with which we cover our bodies, why am I starting this blog?
It’s a question that, even now, with a domain name purchased and a layout chosen, makes me shake a little in my L.L.Bean duck boots. I’ve always had an aversion to “adding to the noise” (a phrase my close friends have heard me throw around so much that it probably makes them want to throw up or throw something at me)—which, as a photographer and visual artist, is problematic. Artists are supposed to do whatever it takes to get their work out there, and here I am, harboring the photographs my professor praises on a portable hard drive I haven’t even shown my family.
Yet now I find myself starting a blog, joining a conversation in which millions of voices already clamor to be heard. Why?
I suppose it’s because I think there’s quite a bit yet unsaid that’s worth saying.
Let me give you a little context:
My first memory linked to a love for clothing comes from elementary school. But even before that, I began learning to love something else more: Christianity, and the person behind it, Jesus. Growing up, I didn’t see much connection between fashion and faith, and this perceived lack of connection gradually grew into a pronounced disconnection. I still loved to dress uniquely and stage elaborate fashion photo shoots with my friends, but I considered it peripheral to who God had made me, and I never gave my love for clothing much weight when I thought about my future.
The thing about loving fashion is that it’s a relatively difficult passion to conceal. By early high school, I had teachers, peers, and people who barely knew me suggest that I go into the industry: as a designer, a photographer, a boutique owner, whatever. My response was always a semi-horrified “No, thanks.” I don’t want to be involved in the fashion industry, I thought. I don’t want to join those materialistic, superficial, image-obsessed people that care more about being on-trend than feeding the poor.
I wanted to do something that counted in the advancement of Christ’s kingdom, and I was convinced that anything fashion-related wasn’t it. I put thoughts about fashion on a dusty back shelf of my mind and generally succeeded in forgetting about them.
About nine months ago, however, I found myself sneaking back to that shelf for a peek at the old thoughts. Pretty soon, a shift had begun in my mind. I began to question my simplistic rejection of fashion as a viable vocation for God-fearing men and women. And to my surprise, I felt like Jesus was walking alongside me, encouraging my new exploration and even egging it on.
So why am I starting this blog? I guess because I want to help bring the conversation about fashion to Jesus-loving, intellectual people. I want to see a generation of Christians well-equipped with a robust, life-giving theology of fashion. There are others starting to talk about this here and there, and I’m grateful for that. But I still have yet to see anyone addressing both the abstract, theoretical basis for a theology of fashion, as well as modeling what this means for everyday Christian life.
That’s what I want to start unwrinkling. And I’m admittedly rather intimidated, because there’s so much I’m still trying to process myself. I will inevitably post things that are idiotic or unscriptural or just plain poorly written at times (and I welcome your gentle corrections when I do!). The thought of irretrievably spilling my messy, ongoing process all over the frightening world of the internet isn’t exactly appealing to me.
But a friend and I were talking recently about an artist we both admire, whose work, while phenomenal, is largely driven by fear. As I thought about this successful, internationally-acclaimed artist, I realized that I don’t want to live like her. I don’t want my creativity to be limited or driven by what I’m afraid of doing.
Perhaps the truth is that I need an excuse to work through these issues of fashion and faith myself, lest I start using the dusty shelf unnecessarily once again.
So here it goes: an attempt to approach fashion from a theologically and intellectually sound place.
Welcome to Unwrinkling.