From the set of ''Dark Angel'' to the stage at Rage Against the Machine concerts, the Cuban revolutionary Guevara is showing up on shirts

By Megan Quitkin
Updated November 10, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

It’s been more than 40 years since revolutionary Che Guevara preached to the proletariat in Cuba, so why is he suddenly the fresh face? Bring It On‘s Jesse Bradford sports a Che tee off screen, while Rage Against the Machine’s Brad Wilk often wears a Che shirt on stage. (Near replicas are sold for $28 at Urban Outfitters.) Johnny Depp fancies a Che necklace, while Michael Weatherly wore a Che shirt on Dark Angel. ”Che is definitely sexy,” says Nylon magazine’s Kara Jesella. ”And this is an election year, so people are talking politics — but there’s nothing cool about wearing a Gore or Bush T-shirt.” How do Cubans feel about capitalists’ red obsession? ”I hope Americans are wearing these shirts because they respect Che,” says Luis Fernandez of the Cuban Interest Section, a Washington, D.C.-based diplomatic organization, ”and not just because of some merchandising strategy.” What, style and substance?