The Rev. Barbara Woods Washington

By Wanda Clay

NASHVILLE, TN — Anyone who loves fashion will want to attend Nashville Fashion Week on Jefferson Street where The Rev’s Demin will be highlighted. On April 7th the public is invited to this event at the Historic Elks Lodge, formerly The Club Baron at 2614 Jefferson Street at 3:00 p.m.

Along with other designers in the fashion world, the Rev’s Denim is a unique design of various wearables made of denim, by The Rev. Barbara Woods Washington.  With such items as hats, dresses, jackets, skirts and much more, it’s not just something made from “jeans,” it is a truly a show of fashion!  

The chosen theme, “The Soul of Nashville Fashion” was developed after three Festivals, 2015 & 2016 African Street Festivals and 2016, Malcolm X Festival, in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2017, “I decided to take The Rev’s Denim to the runway,” said Rev. Barbara.  She said, “While searching for just the right show, I learned of Nashville Fashion Week.  Of the persons I asked, none had knowledge of Nashville Fashion Week.  My first runway show was “Thick ‘n Curvy” on March 19, 2017.” 

Barbara Woods Riles Washington was born in Cleveland, OH and began designing clothes with denim as a student at Tennessee State University. “As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., I first made denim skirts as the uniform dress wear for the Spring ‘74 Rush Party show.  By Spring ‘75 I was working with ‘The Soul Shack’ in Bordeaux to present denim wear in a TSU campus fashion show.”  Following a great display of fashions in denim, an interview was published stating, “Denim Just Won’t Fade Away.”  Upon her graduating from TSU, Washington said, “I moved to Atlanta thinking ‘Fashion’ then answered a call to Ministry.” 

Washington is also a gifted quilter.  After quilting for approximately 11 years, she felt an interest in participating in the 2015 African Street Festival.  With a plethora of beautiful, unique and awe-inspiring specially designed quilts, she did not want to include them in this festival.  Instead, Washington wanted to do denim.  After displaying about 25 denim pieces, the response was so great because they are so unique that there is none like them in any marketplace!  “I have been doing denim since that time.”  

After doing the shows in 2017, Rev. Barbara recalls, “The response was overwhelming!”  She said, “I came to see that the African American community of Jefferson Street with it’s three HBCUs residing on this corridor is the heart and soul of Nashville Fashion!”  Washington thought of more than the surrounding schools.  “I thought of the churches and the clubs of Jefferson Street and realized that ‘fashion is who we are!’  Awoke to what for me, is a vision of ‘Nashville Fashion Week on Jefferson Street.’ ”  Now with the purpose to provide a platform for designers of the black Nashville community, she was unable to enlist one.  Washington said, “On Sunday, April 9, 2017 the First Nashville Fashion Week on Jefferson Street became a reality for me when as a sole emerging designer, along with 8 models, produced a show of 32 Looks at The Loft at Ella Jean’s.”

“Like the world’s greatest fashion designers, I began this fashion show journey with the sole purpose of selling clothes,” she recalls.  However, the vision she now has is tapping into her years of experience in community building.  “In promoting this year’s show, NFWoJS3, I am seeking to raise the community’s consciousness of the Historic Jefferson Street Music District’s “Last Club Standing-The Club Baron.”  Now owned and operated as “The Elk’s Lodge, 1102 Pride of Tennessee,” The 3rd Nashville Fashion Week on Jefferson Street show, on Sunday, April 7, 2019 has found the way onto the Jefferson Street stage where Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, Fats Domino, The Isley Brothers and other great musicians have left their footprints.

Following this show, The Rev’s Denim will be continuing on its journey in the June 2019 RAW, in Cleveland, Ohio and then onto the  Atlanta Fashion Designers Showcase in September 2019.

For more information contact The Rev’s Denim by text, 615-716-8322.