Friday, October 28
"To be Young, Hip, and Mormon"
Found this article in the New York Times.
Check it out.
With songs about drowning one’s sorrows in bourbon or exploring the seedy underbelly of his hometown, Las Vegas, Mr. Flowers has sold more than 15 million records worldwide. In the past, he has been candid about his drinking, smoking and taste for blackjack.
But in a gauzy four-minute video, an advertisement for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that was posted online earlier this month, the singer stares at the camera and says, “I’m a father, I’m a husband, and I’m a Mormon.”
For decades, the popular image of Mormon style has been shaped by clean-cut young missionaries on bicycles in dark suits, white shirts and skinny black ties — and more recently by the sculptured coif of the presidential candidate Mitt Romney or the sporty style of the motocross-bike-riding Jon Huntsman, another Republican presidential candidate.
But the boundaries of Mormon style are expanding. The highly visible “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign (the subject of a major push on television, billboards, the subway and the Internet) seeks to quash strait-laced stereotypes by showing off a cool, diverse set of Mormons, including, besides Mr. Flowers, a leather-clad Harley aficionado, knit-cap-wearing professional skateboarder and an R & B singer with a shaved head.
It’s not just in ads sponsored by the church. On college campuses, city streets and countless style blogs, a young generation of Mormons has adopted a fashion-forward urban aesthetic (geek-chic glasses, designer labels and plenty of vintage) that wouldn’t look out of place at a Bushwick party.
“There used to be a bias against being ‘cool’ in the Mormon world,” said Kendra Smoot, 31, a prop stylist who does work for Lucky and Martha Stewart, and who can be seen sporting Sartorialist-inflected ensembles on Smoot, a blog she runs with her husband, Seth Smoot, a photographer. Ten years ago, when she was a student at Brigham Young University, “there was absolutely zero fashion sense, myself included,” she said. “Now when I go back to visit, the kids there look really cool.
“I think there’s an acceptance now that you can look current and interesting but still uphold the values of the Mormon religion,” she added.