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Using Clothing to Advertise Faith

Using Clothing to Advertise Faith


Using Clothing to Advertise Faith

by Drue Smyther

Teens are wearing religious T-shirts with messages to demonstrate their faith. "His Pain, Our Gain." "The Road to Heaven is a One Way Street." The messages on today's religious T-shirts are not always subtle.

Many see these messages as a welcome anecdote to some of the current messages on T-shirts, many degrading, intolerant, or violent. The edginess of the T-shirts shows that the teens are comfortable with displaying their faith publicly. They feel this edginess goes along with a dynamic faith, that it isn't a boring or dull faith. The terminology speaks to teenagers.

Melissa Sabin, a junior in Northwest St. Louis County owns a shirt that proclaims "the devil sucks" on the front of it. "I got the shirt because I liked it, and it just goes along with my beliefs," she said. "Its part of my identity, and the clothes that I wear are part of me."

Asked why they were buying the shirts, some teens responded that it starts with their faith and not so other people will think they are cool. Others responded that they thought the shirts were cool and just liked the positive message.

Father K. Robert Smoot, director of the archdiocesan Youth Ministry Office, stated that teens do tend to be enthusiastic about their faith and that wearing religious T-shirts is a way for them to display this. But he said what is most important is living out that message.

Studies have shown that sales of religious articles, particularly T-Shirts with religious slogans have increased over the past years and teens are thought to be primarily responsible for this increase in T-shirt sales. The retail sales of Christian products have earned more than $4.34 B during the year 2004.

Religious clothes can be seen as more than a new fashion statement and like fashion it is not just about showing off the latest trend. It is a way of stating your beliefs without saying a word.

People have realized that their faith does not necessarily need to remain within themselves and they are comfortable letting out their spirituality. One way to do this is through the clothing that they are wearing.

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