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  photo by Eden Anyabwile

photo by Eden Anyabwile

Where did he get those shoes? What are Chacos? How come everyone here loves thrift shopping? How many pairs of Vans does that person actually own?

Welcome to Covenant College’s brand new fashion column, where these questions and many more will be answered.

Why the need for a fashion column, you may ask? For many students, fashion is a unique way to express themselves, and can become a kind of art for many. As your guide and style reporter, my goal in each issue is to keep you up-to-date on the latest Covenant fashion trends, as well as inspire you to continue on your own fashion journey.

It’s mid-September and the fall weather is still nowhere to be found. But the unusually warm and humid temperatures haven’t stopped Covenant students from wearing what has become a kind of “uniform” for many: oversized sweaters or flannels, complete with socks and sandals (Birkenstocks or Chacos).

What’s trending with the ladies? The 80’s have returned with high-waisted mom jeans and the neon-colored scrunchies you had when you were in middle school. For the men of Covenant, Vans and vintage Nikes seem to have dominated the shoe game—and keep an eye out for those button-down J. Crew shirts (printed or pastel). Remember: no matter what the style, it all begins with threads.

In each issue, this fashion column will spotlight one student or faculty member’s style in particular. It is a truth universally acknowledged that Chaplain Grant Lowe’s sense of style speaks for itself. Settled in the corner of the chapel department office, the chaplain shared about his personal philosophy of fashion, and where his inspiration comes from.

I first asked him how he puts together his outfits each morning, and he replied that he does so based on comfort: “clothes within which I’m going to feel comfortable for that particular day.”

Looking down at his signature red leather shoes, Chaplain Lowe stated that shoes were an “amazing potential for expression.” He explained how good shoes are such a wise investment to make, and that they “bring joy and make your feet happy.” Apart from the artfully-crafted red leather shoes, I couldn’t miss the red and blue patterned camo socks. Chap’s instructions to you? Buy “well-made, fun socks.”

When asked about his personal philosophy of fashion, Lowe explained how the art of fashion can actually be a way in which we bear the image of God.

“God the creator has gifted some people to create beautiful, comfortable, unique pieces of clothing from wonderful materials like leather, cotton, wool. And we have the privilege of being able to not just touch, see, smell, feel, but actually wear these things on our bodies that God brought into being, and in which his Holy Spirit dwells,” Lowe said.

So, where does he get his style inspiration from? Lowe gave a list of people, identifying all of them as those whose style “flows from them naturally… by unabashedly being themselves”: James Dean, Johnny Cash, Robert Smith, Oscar Wilde, Nick Wooster, Edith Sitwell, Zach Plating, Helena Bonham Carter.

The interview ended with asking Lowe what advice he would give to the many aspiring fashion-forward men and women on campus.

“Cheap is not best, and expensive does not equal quality,” Lowe answered.

He went on to elaborate on how to him, fashion is about discovering what you like and are most comfortable in. He emphasized the importance and value of finding quality-made items, created with care.

In his last point, Lowe said, “Talk to people who are older than you and learn about the fashion they've seen come and go and what they've learned.”

For Lowe, each iteration or epoch in style “bears threads of similarities at heart.” Covenant College students, you’re welcome. You now hold the keys to the magical kingdom that is Chaplain Lowe’s fashion.