Hip to be Square: Between Faith and Flannel

Ashley Baxstrom: Maybe Presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman haven’t yet convinced you that Mormons are cool? Perhaps the recent stream of “I’m a Mormon” billboards, taxi-tops and television ads don’t do the trick, even though one includes a guy with a hawk and another has a surfer girl? But that’s ok. When it comes down to it, we all know there’s really only one thing that bestows and conveys social status and awesomeness – and that’s fashion.

An article in today’s New York Times enlightens us on why hip isn’t just for the hipsters and chic isn’t Gossip Girl’s domain anymore. The “I’m a Mormon” campaign has been doing its part: check out this video from The Killers’ lead singer Brandon Flowers – I already loved the man for his voice; now I love him for how cute he looks holding a baby (nevermindthewife). Mormon missionaries may have led the way with skinny ties, but it’s the youth who are on the forefront of fashion exploration now, negotiating the complicated relationship between faith and flannel.

The article opens the door on what could be an interesting discussion on religion and modernity, but doesn’t walk through. What does it mean when a young man gets a tattoo (desecration of the body temple) of a beehive (a Mormon symbol of working together)? Is it compromise, or mordernization, or transgression? Can a girl dress like Zooey Deschanel and still be a believer? (The answer to that one seems to be yes, as long as proper coverage and undergarments are maintained.)

The question of negotiation isn’t anything new, but modern fashion might be an exciting place to watch it play out – especially when everybody looks so darn good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *