The Archbishop of Canterbury has deemed the cross as merely a fashion statement, being robbed of its religious meaning.
The Most Rev Justin Welby said that the cross has been trivialised and is seen as more of a symbol of beauty than the Christian faith.
He wrote in a foreword to an upcoming lent book: “Are we now living with a symbol emptied of power by time and fashion?
“Christianity with a powerless cross is Christianity without a throne for Christ. A cross that has no weight is not worth carrying.”
Dave Burke, Pastor at Bethany City Church, Sunderland, said: “I think that Justin is entirely right. The first Christians took the cross as their logo – like the Nike ‘swoosh’ or the BMW button, it was a symbol of the heart of their message. “Pretty much everything the fashion industry touches becomes meaningless. But when I get the chance, I like to ask ‘Why are you wearing that, do you know what it means?’ The resulting conversation can be quite useful!”
Heather Koernich, 21, student at Sunderland University and Christian said: “I don’t agree with people who aren’t Christians wearing a symbol of the cross because it’s an outward sign of someone being a Christian. For me it would be the same as someone wearing a piece of religious clothing from another faith, despite them not following the faith.”
The cross became the symbol of Christianity early in the history of the church and has since been adopted as a symbol by several other religions.
However, it continues to be worn as a fashion symbol with celebrities like Madonna and Lady Gaga being at the forefront. Katy Perry and Rita Ora have also been seen continuing this trend sporting oversized crucifixes and head-to-toe religious icons, leading the way in the cross trend.
Jessica Stephenson, 22, student at Sunderland University, said: “I just wore them as a fashion accessory as they were ‘in’ at that moment in time. I wore cross necklaces, rings and t shirts and didn’t think about the religious aspect at all.”
Toni Lawrence, 20, student at Sunderland University, said: “I used to hate the thought of wearing a Christian symbol when I’m not religious, but it’s something that has become a fashion staple for a long time now and while, yes, it is a symbol within Christianity, I think within fashion it is taken as a symbol for whatever you want, even having no meaning but to look good within the fashion trend crowd.”
High street brands like Topshop and River Island have embraced the trend and boast a whole array of religious-themed clothing from crosses to stained-glass window patterns. These pieces heavily stem from designers like Dolce & Gabbana and Versace who have showcased a variety of pieces depicting religious icons and crosses in their previous shows.
Various Christian symbols have been recycled over the years, since the punk era of the 80s to the present day on catwalks and celebrities.
Some call it being controversial and others see it as a fashion trend that never ends. Whatever the views, religion continues to cross over into the fashion world in a big way.