Fashion Brand Forever 21

Posted on: October 10, 2019

Described in 2015 by John Oliver as “the brand that enables Midwestern tweens to dress like 40-something alcoholics attending the funeral of a Tel Aviv nightclub owner”, Forever 21 has shown that some things are not forever. In a move that may surprise many, the brand filed last week for bankruptcy in the United States and announced that it would be closing all 44 stores across Canada. The company currently employs over 2000 Canadian employees.

Anyone who has ever walked into a Forever 21 store will have seen a rows and rows of clothes in the latest trends covering a huge floor space area. The turnover rate in those stores seems almost endless; there is always something new to peruse from tops to swimsuits to shoes… Surely, they were making fast money on their fast fashion?

What went wrong? If there’s one thing people haven’t stopped doing, it’s buying fast fashion. Fast fashion was popularized by Forever 21 and H&M way back in the 80’s, taking runway and fashion magazine looks to the masses. They replicated looks and sold them at low prices; in its own way, it managed to revolutionize the fashion industry. Unfortunately, the clothes are popular because they’re made in factories across the world, in countries where environmental regulation and labour rights are frequently ignored.

Poor factory conditions aside, the environmental toll of fast fashion is overwhelming. Because of the nature of “fast” fashion, clothing trends go out as quickly as they come in and clothes are not made to last. Unsold clothing, shoddily made garments, and out-of-style pieces are piling up in landfills world-wide, often ending up in the developing countries where they were made.

I want to say that I’m glad another fast fashion company is going away. We the People aren’t buying their products and we’re telling the fashion world that we don’t want that crap anymore. In reality, Forever 21 is going under because their retail footprint cost them $450 million each year, undermining their profits. Forever 21 failed to convince people to switch to their online platform as successfully as other brands and now they’re closing those stores in an effort to force people to their computers. Unfortunately, people are not sick of fast fashion yet and there are still many brands doing it even more cheaply that Forever 21, like ASOS. I may be pessimistic, but we aren’t willing to give up looking fresh for less yet as a society. I hope that the employees left without jobs this winter are able to find something else easily, and are not left hanging by this sudden announcement.

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