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Leave Room For Jesus In The September Issue: Religion In Vogue

A colorful beaded top on a mannequin featuring the image of Mary and a cross above.
Courtesy of Lynn Neal
A beaded top by Versace

How did images of Jesus end up on our clothes? Historian Lynn Neal aims to answer that question in her latest book “Religion in Vogue: Christianity and Fashion in America” (NYU Press/2019).

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Credit Courtesy of Chapelle Notre-Dame de Compassion, Paris
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Courtesy of Chapelle Notre-Dame de Compassion, Paris
A Statuary vestment for the Virgin of El Rocio on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The 2018 fashion exhibit centered on Catholic symbolism and tradition.

She studied issues of Vogue magazine from the early 20th century to today to understand how religious iconography has shaped fashion throughout the ages. Neal’s book largely looks at Christianity’s influence on fashion, though she alludes to other religions as well. Clothing is not necessarily a transparent look at someone’s identity, Neal says, but a performative piece of their personality.

This is why we may see people wearing cross jewelry or T-shirts with a cartoon image of Jesus even if they are not religious. Neal, a professor of religion at Wake Forest University, joins host Frank Stasio live at the Triad Stage to talk about how we wear Christianity and what role it may play in wardrobes of the future. 

Josie Taris left her home in Fayetteville in 2014 to study journalism at Northwestern University. There, she took a class called Journalism of Empathy and found her passion in audio storytelling. She hopes every story she produces challenges the audience's preconceptions of the world. After spending the summer of 2018 working in communications for a Chicago nonprofit, she decided to come home to work for the station she grew up listening to. When she's not working, Josie is likely rooting for the Chicago Cubs or petting every dog she passes on the street.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.