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Last Updated: Monday, 17 July 2006, 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK
Curate fashions a catwalk pulpit
Rev Joanna Jepson
The Rev Jepson said the church could learn from the fashion world
A Church of England curate has swapped parish life for the glamorous world of high fashion.

The Rev Joanna Jepson, 30, curate at St Michael's in Chester, is to become the first chaplain at the London College of Fashion in September.

She said she was amazed the church had never had this input in view of the fashion industry's impact on society.

In 2002 she pressed for the prosecution of two doctors over the abortion of a 28-week-old foetus with a cleft palate.

'Hedonistic image'

"I have wanted to work in fashion as a priest for some time," said Miss Jepson, who needed surgery for a cleft palate herself.

"It is just as important to work in a cultural community as a parish community."

Miss Jepson admitted the fashion world is not usually associated with spiritual values and claims it has a responsibility for such issues as body image.

She said: "I think it is a big challenge - you have ethical issues, the political role of fashion and its hedonistic image."

The decision to appoint Miss Jepson as chaplain at the London College of Fashion comes as the internationally-renowned institution celebrates its 100th birthday.

College head Dr Frances Corner said: "I am delighted to announce the appointment of Joanna Jepson as Chaplain.

"As we enter our centenary year it is important to highlight that fashion is more than just clothes."

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