Wearing Religion
Olivia Kang

Religion is the New Black

After reading your blog on religious symbols in fashion and your focus on one of my favourite stores Forever:21, I was aspired to take a closer look in my own closet to see if any of my own fashion pieces could have been inspired by religion.

After much investigation, I actually found that many of my pieces from Forever:21 did indeed contain a religious undertone in their design. However, when it comes to Forever: 21 in particular, I am torn between whether or not the company is forcing their religious beliefs on consumers or whether it is a simple way of incorporating their beliefs into their brand.

Fashion Advertisement Mirrors ‘The Last Supper’

If it were not for your blog’s history on the company and the owner Don and Jin Chang’s Christian roots, I would have to argue that in some ways the brand seemed to be mocking Christian traditions and Jesus in some of their corny, yet cute logos and designs.

Religious Symbolism in Forever: 21's branding.

However, I would have to agree with you Olivia that although I am a Catholic, I am guilty of purchasing fashionable clothing with religious symbols out of pleasure and desire rather than finding a religious connection with the product.

The intersection between religion and fashion appears to be quite strong. From the True Religion jean line to Dolce & Gabbana’s recent fashion show that contained very obvious religious imagery, there is no doubt that religion has been an inspiration on many fashion lines.

According to art historian David Freedberg, “every culture has had a love-hate relationship with religious images: even though such images afford cultures with stability in an ever-changing world, they cannot ultimately be controlled by theological or liturgical means. In their alluring power, religious images make demands on the viewer and the religious devotee can, therefore, transfer his or her devotion onto the object rather than the god.” (Freedberg, David)

Thus, just like the beautiful works of art found in Catholic Churches throughout Europe, that were highly invested in visually portraying and representing Catholicism, very similarly in North American society fashion has become a method of artistic promotion.


Freedberg, David. The Power of Images : Studies in the History and Theory of Response. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. Print.

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