Project Runway and Clothing as Story

Clothes have always told stories. They indicate social class, signify accomplishment, and mark points in history. People can be defined by the clothes they wear: goth, hippie, punk, hipster. What we wear tells a little bit about who we are, whether we’re creative, edgy, girly, simple, or minimalist. Clothes have also been key in the narratives of Scripture—think of Joseph and his colorful coat.

Fashion designers are also trying to tell a story through their clothes—either a story of innovation, a breaking off of tradition, or of trying to communicate who they are through their designs. This is especially true on Lifetime’s Project Runway, which unveils its 16th season on Thursday. Hosted by supermodel Heidi Klum and fashion consultant Tim Gunn, the show brings in fashion designers to compete for a chance to show a collection at New York Fashion Week. But the designers must make it through a series of intense design challenges first.

Designers are often pulled outside of their comfort zone by making clothes from unconventional items, such as creating an avant-garde look that can withstand the rain or reworking fabric from a tacky men’s suit. They’ve had to draw inspiration from different motifs for these challenges: butterflies, bowties, and even an American Girl doll. On top of this, all of the challenges need to be completed under a time constraint. No matter the challenge, the model should walk down the runway still expressing the designer’s unique vision. The judges should be able to look at the clothes and know which designer they belong to.

This reminds me of the way Scripture uses clothes to tell stories…

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Seeking Revelation in Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown

I recently had my second post over at Think Christian up a few days ago. Here is a short excerpt and a link to the original post:

Anthony Bourdain is more than just a crass, foodie traveler known for eating rotten shark meat and a still-beating cobra heart. In his CNN show Parts Unknown, Bourdain reveals the many layers of faraway cultures. Fast Company’s Rob Brunner writes that “Bourdain is on a mission to illuminate underappreciated and misunderstood cultures, whether it’s Myanmar or Detroit. He regularly takes viewers to the sorts of places—Libya, Gaza, Congo—that most Americans know only from grim headlines about political strife and body counts.”

Season 7 of Parts Unknown concluded in the streets of Buenos Aires this past June. The episode hinged on extended therapy sessions, as Bourdain invited us into the “dark crannies of my skull” in honor of the psychology-obsessed Argentinians. He can also be found engaging in the local pastime of lawn chair-lounging and beer sipping while watching airplanes land.

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