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'Fio Dental Bikini Look' Transitioning to 'Evangelical Fashion' in Brazil?

The hugely expanding evangelical population in Brazil has been praised as being a major factor in a change of look being seen among the country's women. Brazilian women have in the past often been stereotyped as being overly-sexualized, wearing fio dental bikinis, but the nation is currently undergoing a drastic change in its image, according to new reports coming out from the country.

A so-called "evangelical fashion" has emerged, according to the Associated Press, and it is one of the fastest expanding segments of the country's R$50 billion-a-year-textile industry.

The new drive towards "evangelical fashion" has seen an increased catering towards the conservative needs of the growing number of born again evangelical Christians.

In Rio de Janeiro, two stores - M&A Fashion, and Silca Evangelical Clothing - are competing in a high street sales war in the Rio suburb Itaborai.

M&A manager Marcelo Batista has revealed that evangelical women are now wearing this new line of clothing proudly.

"It used to be that the word 'evangelical' had a tacky connotation," he said, according to AP. "But now, we're not afraid to show who we are."

The 2010 census results from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) revealed that the evangelical population has increased by 16 million people over the 10 year period from 2000 to 2010, to 42.3 million.

In 1980, evangelicals represented 6.6 percent of the population, jumping to 22.2 percent of the of the country's 190 million in 2010.

The more modest fashion clothing lines are popping up all over the country, with several new brands being born out of people's struggle to find clothes that allow them to dress in line with their faith.

However, in this huge emerging community, churches are not a unified block in how dress, and various churches seemingly encourage a range of dress codes from draconian to permissive.

In some congregations women wear the archetypal Brazilian outfit, tank tops and short shorts in their daily lives, wearing modest clothes only for services. In others, women cover up at all times, not even removing their form-concealing robes at the beach.

In the conservative Assembly of God of the Latter Days, in Rio de Janeiro, women are forbidden to wear pants as well as red and black fabrics. The Church says it has its dress code based on the Bible and also encourages the use of robes.

"The Bible orders women to wear this kind of clothing. It says women's bodies are not meant to be on display for everyone, just for their husbands," said the pastor of the church, Marcos Pereira, according to AP.

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