Everybody knows about the “Hypepriests” — the collective of pastors known for rubbing elbows with, and often dressing in the manner of, celebrities. Yes, the cool pastors club has been written up in a few places (including this very site) for their high fashion tastes, but now an Instagram account is putting it under a particularly hot spotlight. By breaking down the cost of the sneakers these guys are wearing on stage, PreachersNSneakers has garnered soem major attention.
Take Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation and wearer of these SBB Jordan 1s, which currently fetch $965 on resale sites.
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Or take Zoe Church pastor Chad Veach here, looking very slick in his Adam&Yves Saint Laurent boots, which cost $1,045.
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There are plenty more. Many of these pastors, it should be noted, have written for and been profiled on this platform.
In an interview with Buzzfeed News, the PreachersNSneakers poster — who identified himself as “Tyler” but is trying to remain anonymous — says he’s a Christian who likes sneaker culture, and the account is just a way to combine his interests. He sounds a bit conflicted over all the attention the IG is receiving. “I started questioning myself,” he said. “‘What is OK as far as optics…as far as pastors wearing hype or designer clothing?’ I don’t have an answer.”
“I’m just saying the people in church should at least be asking the question,” he said.
There are a few things to note here. The first being that Veach reached out to the account in the DMs to defend himself, saying “Wanna know what’s crazy? I legit did not pay for one thing I am wearing. Nor the backpack. Is that wild to you? That’s wild to me.” (The owner of the account posted a screenshot of the message, and Veach changed his Instagram handle afterward).
This has been a standard refrain among pastors. When asked about their taste in expensive clothes, many say a lot of the items are gifts. That may be true, but it still raises the question of whether pastors should be dressing in Gucci at all. In a 2017 piece for GQ, Sam Schube wrestled with the question mightily, writing:
“I don’t mean to suggest that pastors shouldn’t or can’t dress expressively; the pope’s fancy robes and red velvet slippers are branding tools in their own way …But the convergence in the Hypepriest of so many of the trends that make the fashion world (and the rest of life, too) feel so sped-up, disjointed, and frenetic—the sense that we’re always being marketed to, the omnipresence of the logo, the elevation of exclusivity and limited availability—strikes me as particularly notable.”
And that seems to be the issue here. Almost everyone tries to look nice, and that impulse is going to look different for different people, so no judgment on anyone with a fondness for certain aesthetics (and if you score your threads on the house, so much the better). But free or not, brands like these send a message. And it’ll be up to the guys sending that message to decide whether it’s a responsible one, and one they agree with.