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Lisa Blue’s Summer 2011 collection was the talk of Australian Fashion Week. Not because of her exceptional designs but on account of a one-piece cutout swimsuit that displayed a visual representation of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess.

When Blue’s collection was reviewed on Fashionising, commenters were outraged about the use of the goddess’ image on seductive swimwear. The Lisa Blue brand responded by removing the suit from their collection but that did little to appease angry readers. Death threats were spewed and protests held in opposition to the design.

This got me to thinking: is religious imagery in fashion offensive? Though a lot less provocative than Blue’s one piece suit, Jesus Christ’s image is practically a staple in mainstream fashion within every cultural group. Christ’s image flanks the front of graphic t-shirts with sayings like “Jesus is my homeboy,” Jay-Z and Kanye West famously wore Givenchy’s “Jesus is Lord” shirt, “Jesus pieces” are popular pendants worn by almost every rapper and cross necklaces are seemingly ubiquitous.

From rosary beads to Buddha rings, it seems the fashion industry is obsessed with popularizing religious symbols. But are these images disrespectful?

Is fashion with religious imagery offensive?

-Jessica C. Andrews

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  • I was discussing this with my friend the other day actually. Personally I would prefer if they did not have religious imagery on a lot of clothing because I feel it diminishes these representations. These figures should not be made fashion accessories. I find it odd that people go around wearing t-shirts that say “Jesus is my homeboy,” and have no belief in the religion. I do not think you can find the Star of David and Ohm accessories everywhere. So I think all religious imagery should be less accessible to the mainstream unless you actually hold those beliefs.

  • df

    I think it’s really, really interesting how followers of certain religions react to things that are offensive to deities they worship…death threats? interesting….