Sunday, March 12, 2006

Hey Baby, You Got to Remember, I'm Forever 21 (God Bless!)

Well it took me about a year to figure this one out, but apparently the owner of Forever 21 is big time into religion. So much so that he's placed the words, "John 3:16" on the bottom of his company's shopping bags. Check out this USAToday article from October 2005 covering the topic. It qualifies Don Chang, the founder and owner of Forever 21, as "deeply religious" and it also quotes some sociologist who says, "'Americans are more accepting of overt religiosity these days, and corporations are good at figuring out how to do it with a light touch, one that's not going to scare off unbelievers...'" Oh really?

Friends, I am no atheist, but this scares me. It is especially odd that the purveyor of what my friend RC last night called the "slutty, go-out clothing store" is trying to send a Christian message.

Girls, go get your freak on tonight, but be sure to repent in the morning.

According to my brief Google search, there is actually an apparel retailer in malls around the country that specifically sells Christian-themed gear targeted to the teenage demographic. Though I cannot relate to a strictly-religious lifestyle, it is somehow an easier pill to swallow when the company is flat-out honest about its message and mission. It's the subliminal messaging that I find creepy, to say the least.

When I think too much about it all, I end up feeling like the character Ann Bishop Mullany in the movie "Sex, Lies and Videotape." Remember how she was all kinds of depressed from, quite simply, the weight of the world? At least that's how I remember the story of the flick. My point is, if one thinks too much about the political, social and religious affiliations of the retailers he or she frequents, one may never shop again! We wouldn't want that, now would we? Nay, we have to keep the economy chugging, so we might as well pick the certain companies to which we absolutely can no longer give money. It sounds like Forever 21 is that company for me.

As my best friend KHQ would say, "THERE, I said it," and on the 11th anniversary of my 21st birthday no less.

Guess I'm all growns up.


stellaforstar said...

yo that is some creepy sh*t.
and just when i was thinking i would get around to going into that store!

smiles said...

Was it just your birthday? feliz cumpleaƱos!

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with spreading a little "Good News" in a world that is so synical and messed up? I have worked in the fashion industry for 25 years (and been an active Christian). Bout time, I say, that two of my favorite things collide! God and Fashion! Also to note.....God never wanted faith to be a "creepy thing". I think he wants us to live life to the fullest, but use good judgement ;)

Anonymous said...

i don't know where you got this information, but my friend is the daughter of the ownwers of forever 21. the only reason that the bottom of the bag reads "John 3:16" is because they once saw a bag that Marc Jacobs was carrying with the same exact message, so they decided to imitate it.

Also, do you guys know why it's called forever 21? it is because the owner and his wife met when they were 21!

Anonymous said...

So you won't shop at a store because the owner is religious? So what if he wants to put a verse on the bottom of the shopping bag. His money buys those bags. Aren't you just going to throw it away when you get home anyway? So it shouldn't be an issue. And besides, have you ever noticed In 'N Out prints that same verse on the bottom of their cups. Gonna stop eating there too?

Caroline said...

I wish those people who commented anonymously would do so with a profile instead, but I sincerely appreciate your comments. It is great that we can use this forum to discuss our opinions. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

i can see why now that forever 21 does so well. Gods got there back!!

Anonymous said...

May I ask you a simple question? Here goes...would you shop at a store that was run by Mormons? By Muslims who printed a line or reference to the Koran on the bottom of the bag? Why or why not? Is it just Christianity you have a problem with? If so, why? I'd like to know what inspires so much dislike as to stop shopping somewhere with an affiliation to a belief.

Anonymous said...

Could I propose a hypothetical situation? Here goes...let's say Forever 21 doesn't exist. You'll spend your money pretty much anywhere you like, and you don't know too much about the companies you shop at. Then, you realize that a store you occasionally shop at is run by a Mormon, or a Muslim, or a Hindu individual. They print a reference to the Book of Mormon or the Koran on the bottoms of the bags. Do you still shop there? What causes such a dislike as to discontinue shopping somewhere just because a word and three numbers are printed on the bottom of the bag? What causes this incident in particular to be "creepy"? Explain, please.

Caroline said...

Hello Anonymous,

Thank you for your posts. I can tell you feel passionately about this topic because you've posted two comments while waiting for me to catch them and approve them to go live.

I would shop at any old store, and am sure that I do on a regular basis, owned and operated by people who are religious. I myself am religious, but in my opinion there's a line that a store like Forever 21 has crossed when they begin to print verses on their bags, post verses in their store, etc.

I think that is precisely because I consider myself religious that I don't like the mixture of religion and commerce. And to answer your question, yes, I would stop shopping at a store of any other religion that began printing quotes, verses, scriptures, etc. on its marketing material, shopping bags, within its store, etc. This kind of display becomes, in my opinion, propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I do feel strongly about this topic. Sorry about the TWO would have been enough. Thank you for answering my questions. I have one more...a personal one, if you don't mind. Why is it, exactly, that although you "consider" yourself religious, you still don't tolerate the mixture of religion and commerce. Any other person would appreciate seeing their views publicized.
Thanks again.