It began over supper with simple ideas sketched on napkins but soon their designs were featured on the One Show, Songs of Praise and in Vogue USA.
Revd Sandra Sykes and Sarah Walden, the team behind Collared Clergywear, are a mother and daughter who never imagined they would enter the world of clergy fashion.
‘After I was ordained, I shared with Sarah my dismay and frustration at the lack of choice, comfort and style in female clergy clothing,’ recalled Sandra. ‘So much was merely badly adapted from menswear. Women in ministry were not being truly celebrated and the clothes available highlighted that.
‘We believe that God calls us as we are and wants to help us be more fully ourselves; that ministers are called by God for who they are. Women should be able to wear clothes that, while making them recognisable as clergy, they would normally delight in wearing.’
Collared, launched at CRE National 2015, is now winning plaudits all over the world.
‘We appreciate how women need to juggle ministry, work and family life,’ said Sandra, a vicar in Great Waltham, Essex. ‘We recognise the modern clergy woman has a calling to ministry as diverse and unique as each woman. She needs clothes that are practical, comfortable, yet stylish.’
As a small company, Collared delight in offering a personal touch.
‘Any garment can be customised individually on request,’ said Sandra. ‘There is a choice of sleeve length and pockets can be added to most items on request. Who doesn’t love pockets!’
A collection from Collared will be one of four clergywear specialists featured in Clergy on the Catwalk at CRE Midlands (11am, Wed 4 Mar).
• Collared Clergywear and Hayes and Finch are on stand P41 at CRE Midlands 2020