A chorus of camera shutters clicks over a throbbing bass as models emerge onto the runway in single file. Clad in black leather and lace, they confidently maneuver the catwalk despite the veils over their faces and the towering stiletto heels on their feet. A woman in the front row pulls out her phone to Instagram a textured cape, and a reporter scribbles notes on a yellow legal pad.
As a fashion blogger, I’ve flown across the country to observe this fashion show for myself. But I’m not in New York or LA—I’m in downtown Tampa, Florida. And while I’m surrounded by media personalities and fashion aficionados, the audience is also peppered with pastors and Sunday school teachers. When the show closes, attendees stand up and fall into a queue as they wait to take pictures on the catwalk. The sign they want to pose in front of? A simple red and white logo reading "Christian Fashion Week."
About a year before I took my seat at this runway, I learned of Christian Fashion Week (CFW) online—and my instinct was to cringe. Visions of T-shirts bedazzled with crosses danced in my head; proof-texted verses about modesty rang in my ears. Would this be another example of well-meaning Christians baptizing one more creative medium in Christian “relevance”?
A rapid Google search proved my T-shirt premonition correct, as well as my guess about an emphasis on modesty. Its website explained that the focus on modest clothing was part of CFW’s desire to “create a series of international fashion shows and events around the idea of fashion from a Christian worldview.”
Now I was in Tampa at the invitation of CFW’s founders to see what “fashion from a Christian ...1