ABOUT CASUAL PRIEST
My vision when creating the Casual Priest collection was to be able to strengthen ordained women in their role, through clothing. Now I have realised that vision, and even included items for men.
The challenge when creating attire for priests and deacons is to create practical pieces that look good and are simple and timeless, whilst mediating self-value and confidence.
It started when a friend asked me to make her a clerical shirt. She wasn't happy with the shirts on the market that seemed to be adapted for men. I suggested a versatile and fitted jersey top with 3/4 sleeves and a clerical collar; that was the EVA top, Casual Priest's first jersey top for women in clergy.
In Spring 2002 I premiered the first Casual Priest collection with a viewing for students at the Pastoral Institute in Uppsala, Sweden. It was very well received.
Today, my collection has spread around the world and thrives among my customers in Scandinavia, Europe, North America and Australia, from whom i receive fantastic feedback.
Since I started out I have learnt a lot and realised the extent of demand for clerical attire for the modern priest. Clothing represents who you are and it is therefore important to feel well-dressed, proud and confident in your role.
I have chosen to make the pieces from a versatile and comfortable Viscose Jersey fabric, with excellent qualities that maintain colour and shape. I am slowly allowing the collection to grow and develop by introducing new models and qualities. Right now, I am testing a new fabric blend with Lyocell, which is like Viscose but more environmentally friendly in its production. I will also be introducing a gorgeous woolen jumper to the collection.
The clothes are manufactured in Barcelos, the textile district in Portugal. I have visited the little factory where my clothes are produced which is situated in a lovely valley among the vineyards. The employment standards are high and the working environment for the seamstresses is comfortable. The sewing factory is only a few kilometers from the Jersey factory which produces my fabric. It is important to me that transportation is minimalised and that there is a good level of communication between all parties involved in the production.
Some of the pieces are sewn in my studio in Midsommarkransen in the south of Stockholm, allowing for customisation.
After several requests from male members of the clergy, I decided to include pieces for men, with slightly thicker fabric in a cotton and Lycra blend.
When I first started Casual Priest, I could not have imagined the volume of demand, or that the concept would expand and be so appreciated. It is incredibly enjoyable and exciting to be part of this movement!
/ Maria Sjödin