Sunday, August 31, 2003

(not an) Imitation of Christ

Imitation of Christ (or IOC) is a New York fashion label launched back in September 2000 by two art school dropouts turned fashion designers, Tara Sabkoff and Matt Damhove. They presented their first show in a Manhattan (Jewish) funeral parlour that same year.
When London store Harvey Nichols added IOC designs to its contemporary fashions this year, the UK Telegraph wrote: "The clothes - all of them one-off originals costing hundreds of pounds - are bizarre examples of recycling: cast-offs and charity shop bargains are 'crucified', slashed and ripped, before being 'resurrected' with embroidery, patchwork and hand-painted detail". (20 January 2003)
Subkoff and Damhove claim they took the name 'Imitation of Christ' from a Psychedelic Furs song, however it orginally comes from a classic Christian devotional book, 'The Imitation of Christ' written by Thomas a Kempis, a brother of the Brethren of the Common Life, and published in 1418.
These two *fashion provocateurs* would love nothing more than to receive free publicity in the form of multitudes of outraged Christians protesting against the use of Christ's name and suffering on the Cross in such a crass way, and I'm sure they'll get it. The choice of the name 'Imitation of Christ' in this context is pretty ironic, since the fashion industry is built on a foundation of vanity, pride and self-obsession; all things Christ warned against. Anyway, where is the "crucified and resurrected" clothing in these photos? Nowhere. These topless, vacuuming bimbos are wearing regular (albeit quite fashionable) boxer briefs. The 'Imitation of Christ' name is obviously designed to shock, outrage and thus attract attention and valuable free publicity.
And at least they shouldn't fear actual physical harm from angry Christians - it might be a different story if they called their label "Imitation of Muhammad'.