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Kelly Brown, second from right (Photo by Elbert Chu for WORLD)

Fashionable Christians

Culture | Models for Christ help add substance to style at New York Fashion Week

NEW YORK-Kelly Brown's first modeling agency told her that her ears were too big. They recommended that the 18-year-old have an operation to pin them back.

"It's a hard thing for someone so young to hear," said Brown, who is now 22. "But I decided to keep my ears. I'll book whatever shows God wants me to."

Faith and fashion are two words that rarely meet, but are the two worlds in which Brown connects.

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This week, the young model is appearing in the $1.2 trillion fashion industry's New York Fashion Week. And this year Christian models like Brown have support from Models for Christ, a group for Christians in fashion.

Volunteers from California, Hawaii, Kansas, and Washington, D.C., have converged in Manhattan to help MFC's outreach efforts. Eighteen volunteers from Youth With a Mission are working directly with models in their dressing tents, while others are working the crowds at the Lincoln Center, the hub of Fashion Week. Their goal is conversations and prayer.

But not everyone in the fashion industry supports MFC's efforts. Up-and-coming fashion designer Asher Levine said, "Just keep it separate. Religion is religion and fashion is fashion. It's just clothes."

Still, the fashion industry employs 500,000 Americans, and sets the tone for culture from the runways of Milan to the Walmarts on Main Street.

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