Christian Fashion Week is set to begin on Friday Feb. 8 in Tampa, Florida and judging by select previews, the event will be a huge success.
Despite the name, the shows will be held over a 2-day period from Saturday Feb. 9 to Sunday Feb. 10. In that short time, fashionistas will get the chance to observe countless designs made by some of the world's most talented designers.
Jose Gomez and his wife Mayra spent two years organizing the highly anticipated event, which in essence will showcase designs specifically made "for the world's two billion Christians."
"[We're] looking forward to getting that feeling of New York [fashion week] in Tampa, Florida!" Gomez told the Christian Post. "Christian fashion is non existent ... so we said 'let's say regardless of faith, regardless of background we would like every designer to take up the challenge of designing for a modest Christian audience."
The Gomezes, who invested at least $25,000 into the event, teamed up with Tamy Lugo and Wil Lugo to co-produce the shows. They received an "overwhelming" response from designers around the world and carefully hand picked nine out of more than 180 designers to showcase their works this weekend in Tampa.
Among the designers is 18-year-old Julia Chew, whose chic and unique black feather dress (pictured above) is already drawing her comparisons to the likes of prominent high fashion labels including Sass & Bide. The Australian label is popular among Hollywood starlets such as actress Jessica Alba and singer Beyonce; it has previously been featured at New York Fashion Week.
"We want to do something to make New York jealous!" Gomez said.
Designers were given set criteria to ensure that their designs adhere to traditional Christian values, for example: all women's wear must be over the knee.
"We dont want to lift creativity but if [the designers] cross these boundaries, our audience is not going to be interested," Gomez explained. He said that in determining the select criteria producers asked themselves "would Christian women be willing to wear [the designs] and more importantly "would they want their daughters to wear them?'"
Author Shari Braendel, founder of the Fashion Meets Faith ministry and author of "Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad," will speak on both days during the event. Bibles and other faith-themed items will be placed into gift bags.
While the idea of CFW has been applauded by an overwhelming majority of Tampa's Christian community, one woman has questioned whether investing time and money into her outward appearance is in line with Jesus' teachings in the Holy Bible.
Jessica Brown, who is a 27-year-old nurse, said that while she will attend CFW, she was initially apprehensive after reading the following bible passage.
1 Peter 3:3-4:
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
In response, Gomez explained that CFW is simply about encouraging Christians to express themselves appropriately while staying true to your values.
"Beauty doesn't come from the clothing you wear or the makeup that you're wearing, we really see fashion as a reflection of expression. This is about Christian people wear clothing too but they can't wear what's on the runways today," he said.
"We've created this event specifically for those people that don't believe that beauty comes from the clothing but also want to express themselves and the beauty that's inside of them through what they're wearing ... they want it to be as much of an expression as what they do for a living, the art they create and the music that they sing," he added.
Tickets to CFW are available online and at the door. For more information visit: http://www.christianfashionweek.com/