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Yentacore: The new alt-fashion trend

TJI Pick
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Yentacore: The new alt-fashion trend

Published: 1 September 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

Instead of chunky crucifixes and Virgin Mary iconography, fashionistas are rocking high necklines and headscarves

Generations of Jewish tweens aspiring toward alt aesthetics have grown up sneaking onto their computers on Saturday mornings — shirking the Shabbat electronics ban — to log into their Tumblr accounts or Instagram feeds, where they’ve been confronted with a difficult reality: not only does the Christian hegemony define most of mainstream, global culture, it’s claimed the exit routes as well.  

From the 2010s, rosary-heavy The Virgin Suicides cosplay to the proliferation of Praying’s “Father, Son, Holy Ghost” bikinis, the past few years of irony-dappled, pseudo-traditionalist, Christian aesthetics have been a central tenet of alternative fashion. The “Heavenly Bodies”-themed Met Gala in 2018 solidified this association in the collective consciousness. More recently, the cultural seance that was the so-called ”Indie Sleaze revival” opened a channel for the resurrection of Tumblr-era Catholic core among a new crop of edgy adolescents.

In the background, however, another force has been building to a fever pitch that now underlies every facet of the sartorial scene, despite remaining largely unacknowledged: Jewish aesthetics. Specifically, the visual facets of Ashkenazi Judaism have traced the paths of its people from Eastern Europe to the rest of the world by way of New York City.   

The thing that sets Jewish aesthetics apart from their Christian counterparts is a lack of iconography that is foundational to the latter religion. Most interpretations of the Torah forbid the creation of visual representations of divinity, so there isn’t a Jewish equivalent to the immediately identifiable Virgin Mary, clad in blue and stained with waxen tears, or, more obviously, the crucifix. This means that Jewish style is defined mostly by its materials, silhouettes and an ethos of high-low cultural duality.

Move over Catholicism, Jewish drip is the new saviour of alt-fashion (I-D Vice)

Image: Sevi by Sevdalina (Tortnicesk)

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

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