The 11 Items Helping Forever 21 Sell Their Religion

We all knew this day would come.

The day when the ultra-religious views of Forever 21′s owners crept out from under their signature yellow bags and onto their shelves.

They’ve always had a penchant for crosses. A sizeable chunk of their accessory stock is crosses. Bedazzled, jazzled, rhinestone dipped and covered in colorful bling, but crosses none the less. Not a biggie. Madonna, anyone?  But on my most recent visit to the Glendale Galleria’s Forever 21 store and then again while browsing their online catalog, I noticed a disturbing trend in the graphic tees. Some were just hinting at a shadow of religion, which I’ve seen before from them, but NOW? Now there are items going Holy balls to the wall with tops that have what reads like  scripture on them.

Faith Knit Tee: $9.00

Jesus [Heart] You Top: $9.00

Holy Fringe Tank: $13.80

Jesus [Heart] Me Crop Top: $12.80

God Cropped Burnout Tank: $13.80

Cropped Thank God Burnout Top: $17.80

Price/Name unknow – A reader from London sent this in.

I left out the numerous tops with just crosses on them (bedazzled, bejewelered, drag-queen-like crosses) because I thought it would probably be repetitive, but I believe this is a good sampling of the Christian clothing crusade.

In itself, standing alone, the phrase, “Jesus Loves Me” or the word “Holy” splattered across a cheap crop top and worn by some pre-teen Bible thumper doesn’t bother me. I don’t care about your religion. That is, until you use it to make me feel uncomfortable or in a way I think may be preachy.

That’s where THESE tops comes in:

Yours Eternally, God: $13.80

Pray: $14.80

Three Words: $14.80

God Will Guide: $14.80

Amidst the forgettable crosses and Jesus love, THIS stuff jumped out at me, tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, “You are no longer in a store. Welcome to the Sunday morning service you did not sign up for. Now get to prayin’ sinner!”

So, how do you feel about this? Are you alright shopping for deals with a side of Lord and Savior or do you believe in separation of Church and Style?

Forever 21, WTFWJD?

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101 Comments

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101 responses to “The 11 Items Helping Forever 21 Sell Their Religion

  1. Eric

    Yeah, this is the kind of stuff that I would like to see less of in public. The less proselytizing that goes on, the less people’s lives will be damaged by religion. Of course, there’s nothing keeping them from selling these items, but there’s also nothing keeping you from calling them out on it. Well done.

  2. Hilary H.

    If anyone knows where to buy the tee shirt that says “Believe in Me. Yours Eternally, God.” please let me know. It isn’t on the website and I went to a store today and they didn’t have it. Wondering if it is available? Please reply! I love that Forever 21 is producing tee shirts like these!

  3. I understand why you could be offended. If I was offended, I just wouldn’t shop there. But that’s the beautiful thing about America and it’s wonderful freedom, you can sell shirts that say whatever you want on them, you can choose to go to church or not to. There are so many countries, where honestly, Jane, the Chang family would be murdered for this ( http://www.persecution.com/ ). Isn’t it amazing to know we don’t have to fear in this country for what we believe, whether it’s in Jesus or it’s not. And like many people said, you don’t have to buy the shirts. I think it’s honorable to share something they’re passionate about. What if you were in there shoes? Let’s say you truly, whole heartily believed that Jesus was God’s Son, who came into the world and died for all so that whoever chose to believe in Him would get a clean slate and not earn the right to get into heaven, but be given the right free of charge, if you undoubtedly believed that, would you keep it to yourself?

  4. How dare Forever 21 put whatever merchandise they want to in their own store? Why, you’d almost think that they owned the business or something.

  5. Anonymous

    What kind of douchebag would wear a “GOD” tshirt? It would have to be in the ironic, hipster sense…or someone mentally unstable.

  6. Reallyreel

    This is a free country if you don’t like it DONT SHOP there if its bugging your conscious! Or maybe its Jesus trying to get your attention!!! If we can have adult shops selling sex toys the owners of Forever 21 have the right to sell whatever religious tees they want. There are religious people in this world and will buy them just like theyre shirts promoting homosexuality and gay people are gonna buy those. Get over it!!

  7. Drew

    Love the shirts. This world is better when God is in it. As people claim to be offended by religion and try to take God out this world it continues to get worse. I hate when a small percentage of people try to ruin it for the masses. No one if forcing you to shop at Forever 21 or buy anything.

  8. Anonymous

    So does the 1st Amendment not apply to me or Forever 21 because we’re Christians who wish to express our faith on shirts or by other means? Is it offensive for Muslim women to wear a burqa in public as an expression of their faith? You liberals are so hypocriticial. I have the right to wear what I want, expressing what I want. I see shirts with messages I don’t like/agree with, but I don’t tell someone they can’t wear that because it offends me! That’s what’s great about America the difference of opinions. But Christians should not apologize for our faith. I’m so tired of your Liberal agenda, trying to make people afraid of expressing our faith in “fear of potentially offending someone.” But thanks to your blog, I’m going to buy these shirts. If you don’t like it, then don’t shop there, don’t try to bring down a business because you don’t agree with their merchandise and take the opportunity and my right to still shop there. I guess Liberals just want to me “fair and open minded” for certain issues.

    • ringtheory

      Ok, what? Where do I say I don’t want people buying or wearing these shirts? I could not give a lesser shiny turd. Buy all the shirts and wear one every single day for all I care. And your Muslim faith analogy doesn’t make sense. Why do people feel personally attacked by this post?

      • Anonymous

        I would think my Muslim faith analogy makes perfect since. Muslim women cover themselves out of repect for their faith. Since you’re against these Christian theme t-shirts you must be against Muslim women wearing the burqua because that’s “shoving their faith down your throat.” Jeeze, maybe people feel attack because you’re writing how Christian store owners don’t have the right to sell merchandise with a Christian theme behind it. And you must care, since you felt compelled to rant as you have done in this blog.

        • ringtheory

          Again, WHERE do I say they don’t have the right to sell this stuff? I never wrote that. You obviously haven’t even given me the courtesy of reading my post or reading my response to your comment. And I have not ranted anywhere! I believe my writings have been completely coherent and cogent in every way. I have also made it abundantly clear I wanted a wide range of opinions on this subject. No one picked this post up – I PUT IT on the Huffington Post. I did not get exposed by a Christian news aggregate or site, I exposed this writing hoping for a fruitful and enlightening discourse with intelligent people interesting in religion, consumer behavior and trends. The results have obviously been mixed.

      • Reallyreel

        You ask why, right theory? Because you considered it a “disturbing trend” and “items are going holy balls to the walls”. All of the negative oversexualization offensive phrases on t shirts these days and your disturbed by ‘Faith, Holy, God?? Reallly??? “You are no longer in a store. Welcome to the Sunday morning service you did not sign up for. Now get to prayin’ sinner!” Like I said don’t criticize the t shirts cause your conscious is bothering you. You don’t have to read them!!!

        • ringtheory

          So … Let’s review. It’s a free country. Freedom of speech, yet, you don’t want me criticizing these tops? So … If I have an opinion which might be different than someone else’s I should keep my mouth shut and move on. Unless I own a store and want to put my opinions on the clothes I sell, right? So, if I am a private citizen, I don’t have a right to an opinion because I won’t profit from it? Or because someone else may have a different opinion? What are you saying? Are you saying, Forever 21 and any store and any person but me can voice their opinion about things, and I shouldn’t “criticize” shirts because the shirts bother my conscience?

          Do you see how you are picking and choosing who you think has the right to what? And it’s according to your beliefs and the beliefs of people with a mind like your own, not everyone’s. I don’t understand. Are you saying people should be able to say what they want and express their beliefs but only when you like them?

  9. Andrea Rise

    Your amazing. Love the shirts, love the idea and love you all for doing what God wants and not the public. If it wasn’t for God there would be no store so keep doing what you do best.

  10. FELTUS FROST

    YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY THE SHIRTS.

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  12. I love in n out burger too! idc if they put little christian things at the bottom of the cup that i can’t see. I hate religious wear! I bet if I had a shirt that said “there is no God.” people would get pretty pissed.

    -Bianca at http://theinbetweengirls.wordpress.com/

  13. Pingback: Forever 21 ‘Jesus Loves Me’ Shirts Christian Propaganda? « The Unfolding Drama

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  15. Emmy

    Dolce & Gabbana, DSquared2, and Jean Paul Gaultier have created clothing around a faith theme. The most recent example I can recall was when Dolce & Gabbana were selling t-shirts with the Virgin Mary and child icon two or three years ago. In the early 1990s, Gaultier created a fashion collection alluding to the dress codes of Hasidic Jews. Faith in fashion is nothing new.

    • ringtheory

      I can recall those instances as well, but when has any of them ever made a dress with the word PRAY on it 30 times? I don’t understand why people keep trying to skirt around the fact these tops have commands on them, not just iconography or photos of people, places and things. The word PRAY on it’s own is a command. I guess everyone is assuming these shirts are supposed to mean, I PRAY. Is that what it is?

  16. Pingback: Forever 21 ‘Jesus Loves Me’ Shirts Christian Propaganda? | Christian Media Cross

  17. Anonymous

    Thanks for letting me know about the shirts, I think I will buy a few. I think God might be calling you to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Jesus loves you young lady!!

  18. Anonymous

    I interviewed with them and they have Korean and English bibles in every room… :-/

  19. Holy cheeseballs!

    I don’t mind the John 3:16 on the bottom of the bags, it’s not bugging anyone and I love In N Out burger too much I’d be a hyprocrite given their delicious cheesy burgers. But these shirts are just bleeh too much. It’s good to be religious (although I’m not I don’t mind religion) but don’t push it down peoples throats.

    Also…the “God” shirt would look great with the trashy miniskirts that XXI sells, you know the ones with like the hemline 2 inches below a normal sized girls va-jay-jay and some sparkly pumps ^_^

  20. RYE

    I don’t get the uproar. If their clothes offend you, don’t shop there. They won’t miss your business.

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  23. Rhonda Cambridge

    Why does Jesus bother you? Why do you care?

  24. Haii

    Sooo honestly these shirts have been selling alot like they sell out in a week. And FYI there are only like 10 of these and like freaking 100 others dont let this bother you if its religious. Its nice and makes some people happy. Dont like it dont buy it. THAT SIMPLE! And besides the fact people should be happy to see this rather than all the stupid stuff other shirts say. Oh, and as for the clothes they sell its called fashion and if you dont like it than do your own thing.

    • ringtheory

      That’s such interesting info!! Haii, if you could come back and tell us – are you an F21 employee? You’ll be anon, basically. I am really curious where your store is. I think these might do better in certain regions, but I could see them selling out, for sure.

  25. Pingback: HuffPost Post – Forever 21 & Religion |

  26. badbunni

    Man, that totally reminds me of the time when I was freakin’ bum-rushed by Jehovah’s Witnesses (all dressed in black, INCLUDING a very pregnant Asian lady) while I was fixing my busted circuit breaker outside and I’m CLEARLY busy and extremely pissed off at 9 in the morning!

    They can clearly see I’m busy, YET they still insist I want to learn the “word of God”.

    Speaking of Jesus, isn’t he a child molester? I mean, nobody fucks with the Jesus, right?

    (you win a million Intarwebs if you can guess the film reference.)

    • ringtheory

      Ok- no one freak out. It’s a Big Lebowski reference. Calm down, everyone. Badbunni is talking about a dude named Jesus.

  27. evr

    I’m sure the Father, God, and the Holy Spirit are totally against many of the ‘fashions’ offered by F21!

  28. Anon

    I think the crosses are all fine and dandy, but as someone who works there (just a sales associate, nothing special), it’s a little weird to see that stuff. Besides, it may be their company, but isn’t it a general rule to keep work and religion separate?

    But then, from time to time, I can’t help but laugh about my being a Pagan working for a company run by Evangelicals who shamelessly proselytize.

    • ringtheory

      Do lots of people buy these tops? When I was there last a few days ago I asked an employee to point on of them out to me and she said she didn’t know which one I was talking about and they don’t sell a lot of them.

    • Bob Roberts

      Keeping work and religion separate? It depends what your work is. If you work for a Christian-owned fashion store that has owners who like to sell Christian-themed clothing, then no, it’s not a general rule.

  29. Anonymous

    Jesus Loves Me, on the front…. Jesus Hates You, on the back….. I think my idea has merit. ( I suck at spelling. work with me here people. ) XD

  30. Anonymous

    I am an agnostic. I love fringe. I love to shop forever21. My friends all know these 3 things about me. I bought and wore the HOLY fringe top…. my friends said “WTF” HAS HAPPENED TO OUR FRIEND?! HAS SHE LOST HER MIND?…. and then I turned around. I printed “CRAP” on the back. “Oh. She hasn’t lost her mind after all. Fan-freaking-tastic.”…..

  31. Because Jesus loves tacky crap made via sweatshop labor!!!

    Oh wait….

  32. Ricky

    Considering too that its against the Jewish religion to write out the name G-d, that shirt is offensive in so many ways to actual religious people! Its fine to have the prayer ones and I love Jeebus (etc) but to emblazen a shirt with ‘G-d’ on the front of it… isn’t that technically holding yourself out as a golden idol? Hmm?

  33. Anonymous

    I don’t know what is more offensive here, the fact that they’re really pushing religion, with their cheap looking shirts, or that practically all of these tops are shapeless, boxy, unflattering, and cheap looking.

  34. Amy

    This has to be my favorite post so far. Forever 21, WTFWJD? – Seriously, genius!!

  35. heyitsmekat

    Have you ever noticed that on the bottom of Forever 21 bags there is a bible verse printed in really tiny font?

  36. Jane

    Ah Christ. This is too much. I’d like to see atheist t-shirts next to the jesus duds. That would be good.

    • Bob Roberts

      Then go to an atheist-owned store which sells atheistic-themed clothing.

      • ringtheory

        Hi Bob – without getting into a larger debate (and at the risk of speaking into the ether, seeing as you are anonymous) I don’t know a lot of business owners or people in general who are brave enough to be “out” as an Athiest. As much prejudice as some religious folks claim to feel, Athiests feel it as well. Not a lot of people rush to an Athiest’s defense. Can you imagine the uproar it would cause if these shirts were from an Athiest owned company and said something like, “God doesn’t exist.” or “Don’t believe in God” on them? And those statements are just about the polar opposite of what Forever 21 is selling. No attitude, just the inverse message of “Believe in Me, Yours Eternally, God” Interesting to consider.

  37. Christine

    Even though I identify with the Christian community…these clothes just disturb me. Yeah, the one saying PRAY a thousand times and even the one that just says GOD is just not right. I definitely would never try shoving my faith down someone’s throat, be it by word of mouth or word of shirt. This crap is embarrassing.

  38. mjay

    I can’t believe this! I noticed it and was more than peeved. As if I don’t get enough dogma being jammed down my throat on a daily basis… shitttt. I understand having pride in your faith, or non-faith, but i certainly don’t want to be walking around and seeing girls’ crop tops and tank tops yelling at me to PRAY PRAY PRAY. the shit just hit the fan, i’m done with this store.

  39. Believe? I can’t believe I ever liked this store! Ugh!

  40. Pingback: Forever 21? Lord I hope not | Obsessive Compulsive Daniela

  41. I don’t care what anyone chooses to believe, and I have nothing (much) against Christians, but the prayprayprayprayprayx50 shirt is hilarious.

  42. kerry

    It’s funny that they’re uber-religious but they sell trashy clothes to teenage girls. The way they run business is super sketchy anyway.

  43. Some weird camel toe going on with the leopard print jeans in the top two pics.

    Maybe that shows that Jesus is always watching you and will give you camel toe.

  44. Ashley

    I wish the Holy one said “Shit” on the back

  45. cynthia

    really? why are you all freaking out about these shirts? if you dont like it, dont buy it! simple as that. If forever 21 wants to sell religious symbols on their merchandise who are you to stop them? honestly, why are you freaking out so much about it? as if you should be that offended by them that you have to complain. Why do you care so much? Its not like you would care as much if it was buddah or some other nonchristian religious symbol.

    • ringtheory

      You bring up a good point. I probably wouldn’t be so offended by a Buddha on a few shirts. The thing bothering me here is the words. And the volume. I think I’d be just as annoyed if the words God and Jesus were replaced with Buddha, though.

      • Cynthia (idiot), what do you mean who’s freaking out? This website is WFTforever21 afterall…a commentary about the ugly shit forever21 sells. It’s not about halting their business or changing the crap they throw on shirts (although that would be a wonderful outcome) or giving a horse’s ass about what they sell…it’s a blog, you know…things that people write their opinions on. Sheesh, some people’s children!

      • Victoria

        But what if they made a shirt saying “Buddha buddha buddha buddha rockin everywhere.” I think that would be pretty cool.

      • Cynthia Saenz

        I don’t think they meant it as a cultish “PRAY FOR YOUR LIFE NOW!!” kind of thing; rather, a sort of “hmm… what can we make the cross out of so its more creative than just a black thing…. oh! i know, lets make it out of the word pray a bunch of times.” It’s hard in today’s society to put a little bit of christianity in something like an “I love Jesus” t-shirt without being chastised for it by everyone with a differing view. I say let them put their views into a few clothing items. If it bothers you, move on to the next rack just as you would with any article of clothing that isn’t your style.

        • ringtheory

          I agree with that Cynthia. They can do whatever they want. It’s their store. I get that. I am just surprised they’d go this far. Would you buy any of these?

          • Cynthia

            possibly the faith one at the very top, but to be honest, probably not. I tend to veer away from clothing with writing on it… i’m more into patterns or just nice fabric.

      • Anonymous

        What are you so fearful of? Why is a message about peace and love so disturbing to you? Would a shirt bearing an image from another faith be equally disturbing? We all practice our faith differently, Christians, Jews, and Muslims whorship the same God. If someone dragged you into the store at gunpoint and forced you to buy this merchandise, you may have a legitmate point. However, we have a free market system, you are not being forced to buy or peruse the merchandise. You can simply walk by the store and not be bothered by it. You have the ability to walk past the store you don’t perfer to one you, just like I do. If there was a shop selling aethiest merchandise there, I would walk right past and continue to shop. I don’t have to walk into the store and be offended by messages I don’t support. Just like you do.

    • Kris

      Well, “freaking out” is relative, but in this case I find the shirts incredibly hypocritical. Forever 21 is famous for stealing ideas, exploiting their workers, selling clothing that even strippers would find too skeevy, and most recently for bullying the creator of this blog. Pharisees much? As a Christian, the pseudo-believers who run this company make me cringe.

      • Cynthia Saenz

        yes, hypocritical because of the company and the horrible things they are doing. However, this post is just about seeing these shirts sold at a mainstream store and how its causing controversy.

        Laurie, I don”t see how you find anything wrong with my post. I have every right to state my opinion. If it makes you feel better to insult me, by all means insult your little heart out.

        • ringtheory

          If you want to insult someone, there are a few posts of me wearing really unflattering clothes for your disapproval.

    • Anonymous

      cynthia well said

  46. Victoria

    Separation of church & style, please! (this may be my new favorite phrase jsyk)

  47. KIt Novak

    OMG. Kinda makes me feel icky.

    • ringtheory

      It makes me feel icky too. I think its out of line and pretty unprecedented. I would rather see a company maintain a Christian business sense and practice than try to shove this tacky stuff down my throat in their stores.

  48. PRAY
    PRAY
    PRAY
    PRAY
    PRAY
    PRAY
    PRAY
    ONE
    OF
    US
    ONE
    OF US
    ONE
    OF US…

  49. Cheesy as heck, but so are the Pope’s duds…

  50. Charles Ranier

    holy fringe top, Batman!

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