The Church is made up of Christians from a myriad of different professions, and yet their ordinary tales of God at work rarely get told. In this series, we bring you stories of faith on the frontline
My name is Christina Abbott, and I’ve worked in the fashion and luxury industry for over 40 years. I’ve been in retail, retail management, PR, events, marketing, buying and styling. I’ve been a consultant, a personal shopper and built businesses within brands. I’ve worked with government, the royal family, celebrities and high-profile business leaders, dressing people for the camera. I’ve also done a lot of TV, radio and editorial work.
It sounds glamorous but it’s also a lot of early starts and extended periods away from home. It’s taken a toll on my health and personal life, but the opportunities have been incredible.
I don’t want to be a Christian and someone who works in fashion. I want to be the same person in every part of life, every day of the week. I love beautiful things and styling people. I see what it does for them. If you put someone in great clothes, it gives them confidence. It’s important to present well, but that shouldn’t consume us or be the source of our identity.
The people I work with know that I am a Christian. The industry has been my ministry field. I try to lead my teams with kindness and respect, and be a leader that listens, that always has time, even though fashion is a bit crazy and very fast-paced. I am still in contact with people whose careers I have helped build and shape over the years.
I love praying for and encouraging others. I’ve prayed in Downing Street before meetings and on planes for colleagues. I’m committed to always being gracious and open about difficult things and talking about my faith. You don’t have to give people Bible texts all the time. I’ve sometimes had to make difficult decisions to do the right thing, and I’ve taken abuse and criticism.
The fashion industry has a terrible reputation. I’ve never worked in the supply chain, but I apologise for the times when the industry has acted unethically. I have tried to do all I can to make the world a better place. Please pray that Christians in the fashion industry find other Christians to support and encourage them.