Forever 21: Quite the Opposite of Faith/Work Integration

Theology of Business • Culture, Theology of Business, World
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At Denver Institute for Faith & Work, we spend quite a bit of time talking about faith/work integration. But what does faith/work disintegration look like?

Disintegrate: To separate into parts or lose intactness or solidness, break up or deteriorate.

 Here’s an example. Forever 21 is a clothing store focused on teens. If you look closely at their shopping bags, they have Bible verses on them, like John 3:16.

Yet they also sell tube tops to 12 year olds.

They target pre-teens with overtly sexual advertising. Moreover, they’ve settled several lawsuits about running sweatshops in southeast Asia to fill their stores with clothes.

How does this happen?

Don and Jin Sook, the Korean owners of Forever 21, said in an interview:

“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.”

So that’s how it happens.

A word of unsolicited advice: nix the Bible verses on bags, sell clothes that cover girl’s bodies, and pay your workers well.