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Backstage at the Liberty University’s 2023 “Fashion Speaks” fashion show, designers boldly demand God be represented on the fashion scene

Thought the fashion scene in Lynchburg, VA was non-existent? It’s time to take another look. Behind the scenes at the 2023 “Fashion Speaks” fashion show, I was newly inspired as the Liberty University FACS department prepared to unveil their collections, with much more than just fashion on their lips. 

Models for Christ representative Loni Mbele behind the scenes at the Liberty University Fashion Speaks fashion show

The journey begins with a two-semester elective course, that ends center stage on the runway in the Concert Hall of Liberty University. I received a backstage pass as Creative Director of Naked Feet shoes, a comfortable women’s fashion footwear brand that sponsored the event (and looked stunning on the runway!)

The energy was electric. Aspiring designers and models littered the floors backstage as they let out the last pre-show jitters in an excited buzz. 

Naked Feet shoes and staff behind the scenes at the Liberty University Fashion Speaks fashion show

The passion for fashion was evident. But, as I was able to talk with a few of the designers, there was something even more exciting that seemed to be unanimous amongst the budding talent – a demand that God be represented on the fashion scene.

Liberty University’s FACS team each expressed a desire to impact the fashion world with a bold stance for representing God and their faith in an industry that often lacks even common dignity. 

Budding fashion designer at the Liberty University Fashion Speaks fashion show

It was truly refreshing, having spent enough time on the fashion scene to know it can be critical, self-indulgent, and blatantly unrighteous from many standpoints. 

Their approach, each unique. Many students desired to represent God through fashion itself – modest attire, fashion forward silhouettes that uphold the individuality of genders – others hope to be a light, showing God’s love and character in an industry that’s in dire need. 

Lani Mbele presenting at the Liberty University Fashion Speaks fashion show

Liberty University supports the students in their mission, and brought on a partnership to help inspire students and the audience of this year’s event. 

“The fashion major at Liberty is about more than just strutting down a catwalk or designing trendy outfits. Liberty University’s Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) Department partnered with Models for Christ, a non-profit fashion ministry, to highlight how Christians can participate in the fashion industry and live out their dreams while being a witness for Christ.”Rachel Auld, Liberty Champion

I had the opportunity to chat with guest speaker Loni Mbele in the dressing room, who was the spokeswoman for Models for Christ and is founder of Not Just Sunday. She encouraged the students behind the scenes, gave them some pro tips and asking the question “why not” in being open with sharing your testimony with others, no matter where else life takes you. 

Naked Feet shoes and staff behind the scenes at the Liberty University Fashion Speaks fashion show

Why not is right! Here’s to the boldening of our youth and budding talent on the fashion scene. A reminder that no matter your job, location or industry – there is ample opportunity to be a light for Christ. 

Read more coverage on the event on Liberty’s official newspaper >

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