In my last job my manager spoke to me on the first day about the dress-code. ‘You probably know what to wear, try not to wear anything that offends people!’. I often wondered what she meant, did she think I was going to rock up to work in a Cradle of Filth t-shirt, perhaps wearing a doll’s head poked with safety pins round my neck? (this was considered a good look when I was about 14)
Maybe it’s because I’ve been spending time reading (and am now writing for!) dark-tinged fashion blog Style Noir, or I spend far too much time on Tumblr, but I’ve noticed quite a growing trend for fashions that touch on the occult and anti-Christianity. The inverted cross is a controversial favourite. What’s the appeal? Is it a middle-finger up to organised religion, the appeal of something a bit naughty, or is it just a symbol like any other? I expect some christians find the use of this symbol offensive, but do wearers intend to provoke, or just see it as a bit of fun and purely a fashion statement? Indeed crosses and pentagrams have long been a part of gothic culture.
Something wicked….clockwise from top left – Long clothing vest, Nikki Lipstick glasses, Cat cross (source unknown) Karolina Laskowska Pentagram thong playsuit, BlackMilk inverted cross leggings, Nikki Lipstick inverted cross nipple pasties on Alysha Nett (photo by J Isobel De Lisle), Ouija necklace by Blood Milk, Beauty Photography by Felice Fawn, Cat (source unknown), Cross shorts (source unknown), Felice Fawn self-portait.
Religion, in its history, iconography, extremities and intensities, has long been an inspiration for artists, including fashion designers. As an emotive and highly personal subject, it gives individuals the opportunity to express it in their own way, in a variety of media. This however can lead to controversy, where believers feel their religion is being mocked or blasphemed by the use of images in a non-religious context (i.e. commercial clothing). Unlike Danny Filth, who was quite open about his intention to ridicule christianity, perhaps this current trend is more of a flirtation with the dark and mysterious, without any malicious intent.