Maybe you all already know this, but I just recently learned the history of the army of Forever21 stores that populate our towns and cities. They are everywhere, and they keep growing. Yes their clothes are inexpensive. Yes they do have some cute things. Yes you have to be careful what you buy there because they are not built to last. I know they have been sued for alleged IP infringement. These things I know. Everybody does. Just as I think every woman in America has at least been inside a Forever 21 store.
I have shopped there. I do shop there from time to time- usually it's because I see someone wearing something I like- and when I ask I find out it's from Forever 21, and since Forever 21 is well, BART convenient in Downtown San Francisco - you get the picture.
This is what I learned about Forever 21 (Thank you Wikipedia)
"The chain, originally known as Fashion 21, was founded in Los Angeles, California in 1984 by Dong-Won Chang and his wife, Jin Sook. The first store , located at 5637 N. Figueroa St. in the Highland Park district of Los Angeles was only 900 square feet (84 m2); it is still in operation and bears the chain's original name. Originally called Fashion 21, trendy designs seen in South Korea were sold and targeted to the Los Angeles Korean American Community. However, people from many other ethnicities began noticing the fashion forward designs, and the store became increasingly popular. By the end of the first year, sales had risen from $35,000 to $700,000. Fashion 21 eventually expanded at the rate of a new store every six months and changed the Fashion 21 brand name to Forever 21."
This is an amazing story, so far so good. Really. It's an amazing business model and concept. And the company continues to grow. And any large entity is not without its problems.
But then there is this,
"In November 2001, factory workers producing clothing for the company called for a store boycott until working conditions and payroll improved. The lawsuit was dropped when Forever 21 paid the workers' back wages. The matter was settled out of court and the company, which admitted no wrongdoing, agreed to take steps to ensure that its garments were not made in sweatshops. In 2004, under pressure from PETA, Forever 21 agreed to stop selling clothing made with animal fur."
Really? they sold stuff with Animal Fur- honestly I never would have thought that. And I'm glad they are working towards having garments made ethically.
"Forever 21 has also come under fire from the South Central Farmers and other California-based activist groups in a campaign known collectively as Never Forever 21.The criticism is based on Forever 21’s involvement in a proposed deal with developer Ralph Horowitz to build a warehouse and distribution center on the land that was formerly the site of the South Central Farm."
I guess personally I wish that large companies really worked hard to remain ethical - and be proactive about caring for the globe at large. If anything just for their own PR.
Because, I happen to like many of the things they sell- and because they are affordable- I plan on being an active consumer and holding the company responsible for the choices they make.
Even if it's as simple as writing a letter.
Don't let your customers down F21, because as young women we are active in improving our global community and we are striving for/supporting ethical businesses. We are aware that the choices we make as consumers have consequences. And we will support companies that also participate in social/environmental well being.
** And that is my rant for the day, I promise!**
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