Religious Symbols in Fashion: Trendy or Offensive?

Updated on Apr 16, 2011

Comments (15)

clarisamartini on March 07
i'm designing a collection at university at the moment which is heavily influenced by religion. Many of my garments are incorporating a cross. I did not design this to offend anyone nor am I trying to preach other messages through my clothing. if anything I appreciate the ideas of christianity but I am not strictly religious myself. People can take what they want from it!
dangerface on April 26
while i agree with you in one sense, i feel as though it's simply not as black and white as you're making it out to be. while i don't agree that it's goth or heresy vs. religion. to wear an upside down cross, whether satanic or not, can be construed as offensive to those in the religious community. i am religious, but i thought it would be wise to offer one person's religious opionion.
teribi on June 02
Squarectomy on April 26
And I really do appreciate your opinion and that you have a voice in this issue. :)
Squarectomy on April 26
I am not saying it's black and white at all. No matter how you look at it, you can't avoid offending EVERYONE. You would constantly be walking on eggshells. I'm saying the best we can do is to open to other people's beliefs and do our best to respect them. And remember that fashion, like every other art form, has always been pushing the limits of what society deems appropriate.
aciidxgirl on April 26
offenssive, religion isn't a trend to follow, is something you wanna believe in, if you're against or if you like it, it's a personal opinion, it doesn't have anything related with fashion
fascinationdrop on April 26
i feel like the trend has gone way over and can be highly offensive.. especially when one wears it with ripped garters and black lipstick or something like that. i wear my cross as a symbol of how i live and what i believe in, God. I agree that as long as someone, or I, am not shoving it in others faces, then it should be fine.
KyreenaHay on April 26
I have always hated this trend. I'm not religious but I feel it's such a strong symbol that you really shouldn't wear it unless you plan on making a statement. Either you'r anti-religion (i.e. goth) or you're religious, otherwise you're just an airhead following a trend. Religious symbols are too strong to just wear around as if they mean nothing. The same goes for a lot of other cultural icons.
Squarectomy on April 26
I respect that you have such a strong conviction in your personal beliefs. But I do feel like you are being very closed off in your assumptions.
Squarectomy on April 26
But goth really has nothing to do with religion, or anti-religion. It's a stereotype the media has incorrectly applied to goths.... The goth culture has more to do with personal aesthetic. And it's really limiting to say the only reason someone would be wearing a cross/religious symbol is because they a) are religious or b) are an airhead trend follower.
dangerface on April 26
i work at a very popular retail chain which is owned by a christian. therefore, we seem to always have religious paraphenelia in stock at work. however, my co-worker and i were discussing (she's a staunch catholic) how she is offended by people wearing religious iconography in a non religious way. i may not be offended, because to me it is fashion, but she is. something to consider
i think using it as a trend is wrong because when the trend is over whos throwing away all of their cross rings and tees because its out of season in the fashion world it shouldnt be a fad but i think its okay to wear as a statement just seems like a mockery otherwise
Squarectomy on April 26
Again though, how does she weed out those that are followers of the faith? And those that are not? And another thing, religion means something different to each individual. The dictionary generalizes it even more so, by saying it's to follow a code of morals.... So in that sense, nearly everyone could be wearing their religious symbols in a religious manner.
OnTheGanges on April 25
I think if a symbol holds some meaning to a person, they should be free to wear it. I own an Om necklace that I cherish a lot, because of its meaning to me, and I wear it often. People shouldn't take personal offense to other people's fashion pieces. Fashion isn't meant as a weapon, so people should try to distance themselves from the potential of being hurt when no one's out to hurt them.
Squarectomy on April 26
Couldn't agree more. We don't know the first thing about someone who is sporting a religious symbol. They could be of that faith, maybe not. But in all actuality, their fashion choice is not a weapon. Unwarranted assumptions are almost always disastrous.
katiecosette on April 20
I personally don't feel comfortable wearing a religious symbol and not belonging to that faith, but I feel that everyone has a right express themselves however they want to. That said, I think there is a huge difference between respectfully wearing a beautifully made religious symbol necklace and wearing a "Jesus is my Homeboy" t-shirt. That's just plain tacky.
Squarectomy on April 26
It's hard to swallow the 'plain tacky' argument though. I mean, yes 'jesus is my homeboy' may be a little crass. But then again, so is nearly every other graphic shirt (religious or otherwise) and about 97% of bumper stickers. But that isn't something we can really control. As you said, respect. All we can do is work at being open and aware, and acting in a respectful manner.
ItsClaudia on April 19
I love crosses, they're kinda rock-ish. I don't think they're offensive even if I'm catholic I wouldn't take it as a religious reference. And, most of all, religious references are always IN in fashion!
irisanddaniel on April 18
I actually love religious references in fashion, I find that they sort of really make sense together. Religion has traditional jewelry and clothing that has an inherent meaning and it's truly showing how fashion can be more than simply "pretty." I find it odd when people tell me that a rosary is offensive , especially b/c mainstream teen trends are "saint bracelets" and cross necklaces.
Squarectomy on April 26
And amen to that. (no pun intended--don't take offense) People are too quick to offend. And it's nearly always based off of an assumption. There's a lot more to uncover and 'see' with this merging of fashion and religion. But instead religion is this taboo topic that needs to be segregated from everything else.
StyleInterplay on April 18
I agree with you 100 %. although I am not part of a religious community at all, it just shows how fashion can represent a culture and connect to so many things in life
irisanddaniel on April 18
I also find that, people impulsively assume that religious references are offensive when they could also be empowering. The fact that religion should be inspiring, and fashion is a form of using inspiration clearly shows that offensiveness isn't always the case. Sometimes I wonder if people really know what allusions are, because even in other art forms they just view things at face value.
effervescentevelina on April 18
I do agree it is an artform, but we should stay respectful to that religion's beliefs as well.
Squarectomy on April 26
And that is one of my major points. Retaining some level of respect within reasonable bounds.
Embellishgirl on April 18
I've personally collected vintage crosses for many years. Many are beautifully designed with rhinestones, art glass and ornately scrolled metals. Some are masterpieces of art, and are meant to be seen and appreciated!
Squarectomy on April 26
I do agree that religion is an art. I'm going to go off on a tangent here.... Look at the way the Greek Orthodox churches are designed and decorated. The intent is clearly to create some sort of awe-invoking spectacle. Religion is beautiful. You don't have to have a personal relationship with a higher being to respect and appreciate that.
CrystalBaller on April 18
I agree! "fashion is an art from. And art has no limits or bounds."This topic is very subjective&I don't think there's a right/wrong opinion. I also agree that we shouldn't be ignorant of what a religious symbol means if we are going to wear it. I don't practice any religion so I will not take part in the cross trend. The cross is sacred&has significant meaning to many. I don't want to disrespect.
newday_newoutfit on April 18
if you're wearing a cross, it should symbolize yourr love for God, not just because its cute.
Squarectomy on April 26
But it's not like the only two viable reasons for wearing a cross are to symbolize your personal relationship with God or 'because its cute'....
Firefly1605 on April 26
I also agree!! I don't understand why people try to take the meaning out of such a powerful symbol
maryiangge on April 18
couldnt agree more!
staystitching on April 18
I agree
districtofchic on April 18
I agree it's an artform and freedom of expression applies.

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