Religious clothing trend hits racks

There’s a new fashion fad captivating people across the nation.
It’s not made of fancy material or decorated with elaborate designs, it’s a simple t-shirt that reads in bold letters “Without Jesus I Suck.”

The slogan’s creator, 25-year-old Maurice Hicks from Jacksonville, decided to put the message on a shirt with the help of his business partner Lisa Fields.

Hicks said his motive was to grab attention.

“I needed something powerful enough to let people know how I feel and something that was also catchy,” Hicks said.

Some students said they appreciate the concept of the shirts.

“I think it’s great that someone came up with the idea of incorporating religion with fashion,” said Amanda El Shemi, a Florida State University music sophomore. “People always say that their fashion is an expression of themselves.”

El Shemi said although the shirt caught her attention, the religious message is to outspoken for her taste.

“I feel that religion is a personal thing. I believe in God and will speak his word for others when I feel it will help them through a situation,” said El Shemi, 21, a New York native. 

Although wearing the shirt is a form of individual expression some might wear it to elicit responses from other people.

Hicks troubled past caused him to be adamant about spreading the word of God first through music and now through clothes.

“When I was about 20-years of age I got saved by someone who cared enough and told me I was special.” Hicks said.

Afterwards Hicks said he started encouraging others to stand behind their convictions and has not stopped since, which is how his t-shirt idea came about.

“I want people to know that without Jesus Christ I really am not a good person,” Hicks said.
Some students said there is nothing wrong with freedom of expression.

“I don’t think there is anything wrong with it,” said Stacha Stlyes, 24, a Florida A&M University nursing graduate student. “People put everything on shirts any way.  What’s wrong with voicing your opinion?” 

The shirts, which have been available since November 2007 have received national news coverage and gospel superstar, Tye Tribbett made a television appearance sporting one.

According to Hicks, it has been a long journey and he wouldn’t be where he is today without support.

“To turn my idea into a reality took the help of good friends, family members, and God,” Hicks said.  “You also have to be motivated. You can’t sit on your butt all day. You have to get out there”

Hicks said as long as people demand the shirts he will continue to produce them.

“As long as people want to wear them I am happy to make them” said Hicks, who also announced that he will soon be selling his shirts in orange and green as a dedication to FAMU.

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