A friend of mine asked me to make appropriate vestments suitable for her to wear in the clergy, as she didn't feel comfortable wearing the traditional mens’ clergy shirt styles and sizes that were available at the time. I thought that a shirt seemed uncomfortable, so instead I designed a tailored jersey top with a close-fitted waist and clerical collar. She liked it and spread the news to her colleagues.
In the spring of 2002 I showed a small collection to students at the Pastoral Institute in Uppsala, Sweden. It was well received and several orders were placed. I realized there was a need for well-fitted, tailored clothing designed especially for modern, female Church professionals.
Clothing helps indicate who and what you are, so it is important to feel comfortable and confident in them in your daily work. I believe that for a woman, it is important to be able to express femininity as clergy in the Church, which historically was a patriarchal environment.
One might think it superficial for clerical workers to be interested in what they wear. On the contrary, I think that feeling secure and professional in one's clothing makes it easier to focus on one's work.
The Casual Priest line has received much appreciation, and the positive response continues from Sweden, Norway, Finland, England, USA, Canada, Puerto Rico and Australia.
- Maria Sjödin