Believers Shall Not Perish but have Forever 21?


When I need basic essentials, I go to Forever 21. Who doesn’t right? I peruse and leave with great finds at affordable prices. I also leave with a little bit of Jesus at the bottom of my shopping bags. And so do you!

The first time I ever noticed the “John 3:16” bible verse underneath my Forever 21 bag (XXI, if you’re fancy), a smile played on my lips. It piqued my interest and I wondered why a mega chain would have the verse on their bags. I didn’t find out why until now.

If you didn’t know John 3:16 states:

” For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

This verse sums the bible into one line. It’s what the faith of Christianity is all about. Bringing Love into the world so that we may be wrapped in His embrace and have the opportunity of receiving the gift of living forever.

Forever… 21. I wonder why it’s called that? *shrugs* But right now we’re focusing on why the bible verses are on the bottom of their fluorescent bags. Forever 21 is owned by Christians – that was news to me! Korean immigrants Do Won Chang and Jin Sook founded the store in 1984. It all began due to their struggle with bringing in income. Chang had 3 jobs at one time – a coffee shop employee, a janitor and pumping gas. One day at work, he took note that the fancy cars coming through were ones owned by fashion retailers. A couple years later, Forever 21 was born. The couple knows that it was by the grace of God that turned their little store into an “international empire”.

So… why is the verse on there? The founder’s response: “I hoped others would learn of God’s love”.

Their daughter, Linda said, “The biblical verse on the bags is a statement of our family’s personal faith. I would think of it as no different than a favourite quote of someone’s.

“For us, faith is a very important component in our personal lives, and, therefore, that is something we stand for. Our personal faith is separate from the business. Forever 21 as a company, a business, is a separate entity from something the owners stand for; so I wouldn’t say that it necessarily overlaps too much.”

I could talk about the negative aspects of this company such as reported protest against pay and working conditions and the fact that I feel that a Christian company can and should have more modest clothes BUT honestly, I’m answering a widely asked question. I am happy that people are Googling what John 3:16 is, though. It happened when Tim Tebow marked the verse on his face during game time and even Christian companies Chick-Fil-A (LOVE THEM), In-N-Out, and Tyson use the subtly but boldly approach as well.

I don’t agree with how Forever 21 does certain things but I just wanted to add that just because the founders of Forever 21 are Christian, does NOT mean it is a Christian store.

You don’t need to scream “Jesus” to be identified as a Christian. You are identified as one when you live it and are unabashedly unashamed of the Gospel. That’s when you catch the attention of those who don’t believe.

No shoving down throats here.

Source: Christian Today, Washington Post


27 thoughts on “Believers Shall Not Perish but have Forever 21?

  1. Munachi says:

    Honestly. I have mixed feelings about the verse on the bottom of the Forever21 bags. I noticed them a few years back and was really excited that such a major company supported something I so strongly believed in. But like you briefly mentioned, so many other things about their company contradict the Bible and Christianity as a whole. It’s not a matter of being perfect and doing everything right to be considered a Christian, but just because Forever21 prints a few characters at the bottom of their bags doen’t mean that I would wholeheartedly take pride in them being a “Christian comapny.” I’d much rather them have “Christian” clothing (i.e. modest, original, fair-waged clothing) than a single verse on the bottom of their bags that so many people barely even notice. I appreciate what they’re doing in trying to spread the Word (if you can honestly call it that) but like the Bible says: I’d rather them be one way or the other, not lukewarm. Go hard or go home, Forever21 and show your “Christian values” vertically throughout your company.


    • tarahsaint says:

      I was having this conversation with a friend of mine. I agree, if you are going to rep Christ, then do it wholeheartedly…do it completely. My angle is on how the verse is being looked up by millions. I was not praising Forever 21 for putting the verse on their bag but answering a question that is widely asked: “Why does Forever 21 have a bible verse under their bags?” Because the founders are Christian. That was the main goal. To explain why, to give examples of people who wore the verse in the media and to say that although I don’t think Forever 21 is going about this the right way, I was elaborating on that as Christians, we should not force Christ on anyone. We illustrate the Love and show them they’re missing out. Yes, their clothing does not further the Kingdom, definitely not. And yes, as I mentioned, they really could have modest clothing. I really do feel that perhaps their creative directors have free reign over the clothes. It seems like the owners washed their hands off of this and stick to the business aspect and if this to be true, they shouldn’t have.

  2. sarah says:

    I worked as a Visual Merchandiser for one of the NYC stores and we were always talking about how contradictory the “Christian” facade of the store was vs the actual actions the company was known for. I quit because in the end I didn’t feel comfortable working for a corporation that was constantly being sued for stealing artwork and designs. (We had almost daily recalls on items because some company or individual pressed charges for copyright infringement.). It became kind of disgusting to me seeing blantant knock offs of designers I held the utmost respect for on a regular basis. Granted every fast fashion brand is guilty of this to some degree but it still doesn’t make it any more the right thing to do. I think it was Anna Sui who actually had Tshirts with Don and Esther Changs head shots printed on them with fake western style mustaches with a bounty underneath and one of the Ten Commandments ‘thou shalt not steal’.

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