I never in a million years thought my religion would influence my fashion choices. I’m a progressive Jew, and as such religion makes few incursions into my everyday life. I don’t eat pork or shellfish, and always wear a Star of David round my neck, but neither of these actions are instructed by my branch or Judaism (Progressive Judaism is the most liberal form of the religion), they’re just my personal choices, influenced by my upbringing, of how I wish to observe my faith.
Recently though I’ve been suppressing a fashion urge on religious grounds. Everywhere I look I’m confronted with lust-inducing pieces adorned with the Christian cross, and it’s forcing me to confront some interesting issues; can an observant Jew really prance around adorned with crosses? And why am I so drawn to a symbol that represents a faith I don’t practise?
Well the first question is pretty easy for me to answer. No. I’m not comfortable with wearing a cross, in any form. I just think it would be insincere, hypocritical and quite frankly weird for me to do so.
But why am I so drawn to the cross in the first place? I’ve had a good think about this, and I think this cross-coveting partly comes from my love of the '80s and early '90s, when the cross last had its fashion moment; Madonna in her prime, Gianni Versace, Camden punks and excessive gold jewellery are all style references I’ve always loved and emulated.
Then there are all the contemporary influences; Gaga (on her more normal days) and Rihanna (who’s stylists are both obviously quite strongly influenced by the same '80s/ '90s references I love), and Anna Della Russo (who is the epitome of modern Italian excess), not to mention Versace's glorious AW/12 collection, which was a homage to the dark glamour of the cross.
When you mix it all together my attraction to the cross seems to stem from the fact that it sits so perfectly in that place where baroque embellishment meets punk grunge and East London hipster; quite a heady mix to abstain from. Yet abstain I must.
So, as I’m refraining from worshipping at the alter of the fashion cross, I’m going to urge all of you to do so on my behalf! Here are the pieces I’d be glam-gothing up my wardrobe with if it weren’t for the inconvenient fact that I’m a practising Jew…
Do you think religious iconography has any place in fashion? Are you a practising Christian? If so, how do you feel about the use of the cross as a fashion symbol? Are you a Jew, Muslim, Hindu (or member of any other religion) who feels comfortable wearing a symbol of another religion on a simply stylistic level?
For more thoughts on fashion and religion – but not necessarily together – follow me on Twitter @MissSisiG