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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