Catholics Chuck Their Chuck Taylors After Converse Shoes Get Satanic Symbols
The Satanic Converse are only the latest in fashion designer Rick Owens’ long line of occult-inspired fashion.
Catholic influencers are throwing out their Converse shoes after the iconic shoe brand’s newest limited-edition collaboration launched with explicitly demonic and occult symbols.
The series of three Instagram posts celebrated grunge fashion designer Rick Owens’ take on the classic Chuck Taylor All Star high-top. The shoe itself wouldn’t be too shocking on its own: it’s chunkier and higher than the original, and in silhouette looks like a Doc Martin.
But the hellish ads feature bald, white-painted models with blackened lips and eyes and pentagrams in their mouths, dressed in black leather morph suits — an aesthetic the creative director called “non-binary aliens.” And Owens said that his inspiration for the shoes was his fascination with Satanic ideals.
“I've been using this pentagram for a long time because obviously, it has adolescent occult associations,” he said of the shoes. “But I like geometric diagrams like that because, in a very primal way, they are a culture's grasp for control. And a way to organize thoughts and systems. And a pentagram, in this day and age with all of its associations … I like the fact that it refers to an alternative system.”
Converse justified the design as coming from the transgressive world of grunge fashion: “Owens emerged from the glam-rock and grunge underground to become one of fashion’s essential iconoclasts. His DRKSHDW diffusion line, launched in 2005, blends punk edge with couture-like sophistication. The aesthetic is all about disrupting formality — embracing traditional structure and then blowing it up.”
Converse shoes have been straight-laced staples of American footwear since the 1940s, and it was exactly this popularity that prompted Owens’ interpretation of the brand: “When I see something ubiquitous, I feel like I want to distort it. I don’t know what that’s about. Maybe it’s some kind of adolescent rage. But that’s one of the greatest appeals of the Chuck Taylor All Star.”
The Satanic Converse are only the latest in Owens’ long line of occult-inspired fashion. Though raised in a conservative Catholic household, he was drawn to a transgressive interpretation of fashion and art from a young age. He had a fashion show in 2019 themed around “the glory of lust and vice,” and at a 2006 fashion fair he had an exhibit featuring a wax model of himself “hanging from the ceiling, jeans lowered, urinating on to a mirrored floor.”
Unsurprisingly, Owens’ collaboration with Converse did not go over well with fans of the shoe brand and the comment sections were flooded with criticism. A comment on one of the Instagram posts that said, “I’m too Christian for this collab,” had almost 10,000 likes. Other users commented things like “you need Jesus” and “God wins,” “just no,” and lots of barfing emojis. Many people pledged to never buy Converse again and Catholic and other Christian influencers posted videos of themselves throwing away their Converse shoes.
Even so, the shoes sold out quickly.
The Converse incident is similar to the Satan-themed limited-edition shoes sold by the rapper Lil Nas X back in March. The 666 shoes contained “one drop of human blood” each, and despite costing over $1,000, sold out in less than a minute. In that case, Nike sued the rapper for selling an unauthorized version of its brand. But since Nike owns Converse and gave the greenlight to the demonic advertisements, it’s clear that the company was never interested in preserving any kind of public decency.
It seems the devil is done with convincing the world he doesn’t exist and decided to move into the open, with the help of the biggest brands in America — which is why people are chucking their Chuck Taylors, and putting the devil back in his place.