Not so Forever 21

Popular clothing store faces bankruptcy

Fast+fashion+store%2C+Forever+21+is+near+its+end+and+reaching+bankruptcy. illustration/ KATE FERNANDEZ

Fast fashion store, Forever 21 is near its end and reaching bankruptcy.

Yet another popular franchise is nearing its end.

On September 29, 2019, Forever 21 filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

An employee source from Forever 21 says that they’re not able to disclose much information, but they can say that they’re closing every store in Europe and Canada along with 178 across the USA, including the nearest location in Roseville at the Westfield Galleria.

“(Forever 21’s demographic) is a big, big market and competition is probably crazy,” business teacher Bill Patterson said.

Patterson believes that high competition with other large companies, especially Amazon, is what hurt Forever 21 the most and that they’ve stopped making enough money to keep their stores open.

In most cases, most people wouldn’t have guessed that a brand that sells fashionable and reasonably priced clothing would be filing for bankruptcy. 

However, many people predicted this fate for Forever 21 a while ago, and it’s just now starting to come to fruition.

They sell a lot of clothes that, in my opinion, are kind of ridiculous,

— Solange Conley

“They sell a lot of clothes that, in my opinion, are kind of ridiculous,” senior Solange Conley said. 

Conley shops at Forever 21 for basic pieces that will go great with her style. She enjoys layering clothes, and while Forever 21 has many options for basic pieces, many of their clothes can be absurd.

“You’ve seen the memes on the internet that happened a few years ago where Forever 21 would have a cute (article of clothing), and you turn it around it says something weird that’s embroidered on it,” Conley said.

This trend hit Forever 21 hard when they sold “quirky” clothing for a period of time and deterred many customers looking for good fashion.

Even though their styles have improved today, the old trend gave them the reputation for being an untrustworthy store to shop at.

Nevertheless, people still shopped there for their reasonable prices for relatively cute clothes.

“(Forever 21) is the only store I really shop at because I’m kind of broke,” sophomore Ashley Chen said. “Everywhere else in the mall, like Pacsun and Brandy Mellville, is expensive.”

Chen is an example of Forever 21’s target demographic: teenagers.

According to Business Insider, Forever 21’s main demographic is teenagers and college students, neither of whom have much money.

Since Forever 21 is cheap and (mostly) fashionable, many younger women go to shop there.

(Forever 21) is the only store I really shop at because I’m kind of broke,

— Ashley Chen

However, it is also the younger women who are promoting an entirely different strike within the fashion industry, that being the fight against fast fashion.

Fast fashion is a term used in the world of fashion retailers to describe cheap clothing that is produced rapidly by mass-market retailers to keep up with the latest trends.

While it’s a good method for large business franchises, many millennials and much of generation-z have been boycotting fast fashion businesses because of poor working conditions for their employees.

In third world countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, workers are being exploited in poor working conditions while being paid less than a living wage. All of this is to produce new trends as fast as they can for big businesses such as H&M, Gap, and Forever 21.

Because of fast fashion, clothing stores are able to produce fashion quickly for a much lower price to draw in more customers.

“Although I don’t support (fast fashion), I do find myself walking into those stores, but I try not to,” sophomore Jerimae Pielago said. “Most of my clothes are hand-me-downs or thrifted.”

Pielago is just one example of several students who have begun to boycott fast fashion.

Forever 21 just so happens to be one of the worst culprits of this.

“You could walk into (Forever 21) on a Tuesday, and on Wednesday, there’d be entirely new things,” Pielago said.

Another affordable clothing brand has one foot in the grave, and buyers will need to start looking in other places as quick as they can.