In the News: Dior and the occult aesthetic

I have mixed feelings about the growing mainstream popularity of the ‘occult aesthetic’. I mean, it does benefit me a little because it means I can buy shirts and things with cool stuff printed on them… but it massively benefits the corporations that produce these items and doesn’t give much back to those of us who follow the beliefs that made this stuff profitable in the first place. 

Sure, we might gain a few more friends who learn of our existence and decide to join us when they’re looking for Dior tarot jackets… but we develop the reputation of being a ridiculous fashion fad for poseurs, so we lose others who might have come to us on their own1.

Totally not Dior pendants. The one on the right is from the 90’s Wicca fad.

When we’re pulled into the mainstream by people who want to make money off our community, all the attention can seem fun and exciting, but we need to remember that they don’t care about our reputation, or our safety. They don’t care that when they start selling shirts with pentagrams all over them, there are going to be preachers that see those products and start telling their congregations that the devil has it’s claws in the fashion industry. They don’t care that there will be preachers who’s new focus on the insidious influence of the occult in fashion will cause pain to those in their congregations that are good Christians, but read tea leaves, or runes, or tarot cards. They don’t care that congregations who hear this stuff will begin to lose their willingness to be tolerant of other people’s beliefs and interests. They don’t care that people will find themselves cast out of their religious community for believing oracle cards can be used to receive messages from angels.

This happened with fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. Then there were issues around Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh. Satanic panic is a thing that keeps coming back. There’s no reason to think it’s not going to raise it’s ugly head again, here, now2. And, it’s probably pretty unreasonable to expect Dior to care. It’s not in their business model to care. They just release a new line of clothing for the next season, and ta-da! All the occult references are gone.

In contrast, the people who made D&D and MTG had to go out of their way to remove occult references and sanitise their products, because fantasy games kind of deal with magic and mystical things. They were forced to to do it because being called ‘Satanic’ hurt their sales, and their fans suffered ostracism from Christian groups. D&D and MTG didn’t do anything to help the occult community become more accepted because they never intended to be part of the occult community or profit specifically from the occult community. That’s fair.

Dior has freedom that D&D and MTG didn’t have. They can use our look, then throw us away next season, when we’re not trendy any more.

Dior’s approach is, admittedly, much nicer than some other occult-flavoured marketing stunts I’ve seen. They’re using the Motherpeace tarot designs on their clothes and in their stores, and appear to be making a deliberate effort to be decent about it. They contacted the original artists who created the deck rather than just stealing the images outright like Topman and Zara might have. Dior has made an effort to be respectful… but they are still a business. Their responsibility is to profit. They have no responsibility to us. I worry that they’re one small step away from the Meat and Livestock Australia marketing stunt.

May the cards fall in your favour,

  1. Do we all want want to welcome people who care about being a poseur? I don’t know. I think it’s best to welcome everyone, because everyone has a different spiritual journey they need to undertake, and sometimes those journeys start with caring about fashion fads and poseurs.
  2. Yeah, I know, I’m in Australia. People like to think stuff like that only happens in America. It happens here too.

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