Does Christianity have a place in Urban Fashion? Another question to be considered is should Christianity have a role in influencing popular culture? Sadly Christianity and Urban Fashion sounds like an oxymoron. Should the two be kept separate? Keep on reading as this question is explored.
On 31st August 2018 Trend Savvy Limited, a faith-based brand held a Pop-Up Stall at Rough Trade Nottingham. Trend Savvy Limited is described to be a faith-based brand that considers their responsibility in regard to the message they inscribe on their clothing. In contrast, Rough Trade is not normally associated with faith, however, it is widely known for its association with urban culture and former post-punk history. Rough Trade is now known to be a collective of independent record shops in the UK and the US with headquarters in London, UK.
From the perspective of Trend Savvy Limited the day consisted of setting up the stall, the Pop-Up was indoors alongside three other independent businesses, one a vintage clothing, another an urban pins and artwork and the other being Graphic designed visuals displayed on a T-shirt. An open space was selected and the stall decorated with polaroids, business cards, display stands, and a roller banner. In addition to the visual adornment, four T-shirts from the Trend Savvy Limited Rise Collection were displayed.
Throughout the day many insightful conversations about the designs and their meanings were had. Something not anticipated was the depth of the conversations had. Formerly Trend Savvy Limited was solely based online, which meant all information was read, therefore a verbal explanation was not needed. The Pop- Up created an opportunity for conversations to go beyond fashion and created conversations where the topic of faith was explored. This may have been related to the location and target market of people who attended. Although the majority of people encountered were not of faith, they were still drawn to the visuals of the Rise Collection T-shirts.
The experience created several learning points; that it is important to create more opportunities like this Pop- Up event for more intentional conversations, as this would enable one to reach more people who may not otherwise come across a faith-based message. Something to be improved from the previous approach was the initial intentionality in regard to the conversations.
Even though it may be easier to focus on a Christian target market in regard to conversations, and possibly more profitable in sales, it would not be as effective at reaching those far from the gospel. In addition, it would not be effective in influencing fashion or urban culture, which is currently not dominated by Christians. Perhaps Christians could create a place for themselves within fashion and change this?
As biblical support to this it has been stated in the word that Christians have the great commission to “go and make disciples of all nations ” Matthew 28:19 (NIV). Therefore it could be said that as Christians our main objective should be to communicate the gospel with all people those near and far. Fashion is often described to be a form of expression and communication, so maybe it can be another avenue of evangelism?
It could be argued that popular culture is often very dark or has an obscure history and that associating Christianity is not wise. However, a response to that is popular culture does not have to be dark. To biblically support this response in the word it has been stated “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden” Matthew 5:14 (NIV). In this day and age, Urban Fashion seems to be a platform and trend everyone can see, so perhaps it is the “hill” and perhaps the influences of a Christian are the “town”?
In terms of Christianity having a place in Urban Fashion and Trend Savvy Limited having its first Pop-Up stall at Rough Trade, it is a small start, but it is a start.
A challenge set for readers is for them to change their mindset, instead of being Christians influenced by popular culture, let us be Christians who influence popular culture, whether that be fashion or music. For the time being why not go and check out Trend Savvy Limited’s Rise Collection.