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A devine designer in the Bronx

December 23, 2009 3:18:58 PM PST
During this holiday season, there's a man in the Bronx who will not only be delivering Mass, he will be helping people look like they've come off the pages of a fashion magazine. You might call him a Renaissance man of modern times. Andrew O'Connor knew at an early age that his calling was to work for the Catholic church. But recently, his career has branched out, and you might just call him a very hip priest.

You wouldn't know it from the outside, but the Church of the Holy Family is a fashion mecca of sorts. Inside, there's a team creating a line of clothing designed by, of all people, the priest.

But the idea of a fashionista priest is fitting. After all, Vogue Magazine featured Father O'Connor's clothes. And he says he never imagined Cameron Diaz would be wearing his clothes, but he's delighted about it.

She wore his shorts because she reportedly likes organic cotton. Father O'Connor gets his fabric from Guatemala, where he once worked. His first design was a religious garment called an alb. But in the five years since he made it, he's branched out into secular styles for women and men.

The line, called Goods of Conscience, does good, too. It provides jobs for Mayan Indians, who make the fabric by hand. It also provides jobs for the Bronx, plus money raised from the line goes back into the church and its school.

Where Father O'Connor has hardly shrugged his first calling, in fact he finds his clothes to be empowering.

"My parishioners like the fact that I'm involved in this," he said. "So it's become very exciting."

Pieces sell from $28 to $895 - Vogue prices, if you will.

Father O'Connor didn't set out to be a designer, but becoming a one seems to have been part of the grand design.

"It's really, truly been an act of God that it's gotten this far," he said.

Goods of Conscience are sold in several boutiques around the country, and in the Bronx. Father O'Connor says he likes when people come to the church to shop, and see not only the clothes, but the project in action.

Click here to visit GoodsOfConscience.com and find out more about the clothing line.


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