Why We Hate Forever 21 and Why You Should Too

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Our animosity towards Forever 21 has grown over the years, from a simple pet peeve to a burning hatred.  Online, particularly on  “what I’m wearing” type blogs there is a preponderance of fashion loving ladies sporting their Forever 21 gear.  It seems young fashion savvy shoppers online and off are continuing to favor our nemesis, Forever 21.  It is so hard, when we see a blogger, coworker, or friend bragging about their latest Forever 21 deal, to keep from screaming; “Do you have any idea who or what you are supporting?”  We’d hoped for awhile that the despicable chain would disappear, which has been the fate of many retailers this year.  However, it seems their evil plot of world domination is continuing.  Forever 21 has just announced plans to develop 30 massive department stores across the country, including one in Times Square replacing the Virgin Megastore.  So to make it perfectly clear why you should forgo F21 (if you must indulge in disposable fashion, H&M or even Target are better) here is a list of reasons to boycott Forever 21 forever!

  1. Sweatshop labor in the US – Forever 21 has been running sweatshops in California and using Mexican immigrant labor in subpar working conditions to provide you with cheap disposable clothing. Especially for our LA readers, how can you in good conscious spend money on a product that forces fellow women to work in sweatshop conditions?  Several of these women have banded to together and created a must see documentary called “Made in LA”.  It is very easy to say “Oh yeah, it may be cheap labor but I can’t afford anything better” and thereby distancing yourself from the issue at hand but watching this documentary and seeing the faces behind your garments should open everyone’s eyes.  Additionally, Forever 21 has been taken to the California Supreme Court regarding its unfair labor practices repeatedly.  As one factory worker Guadalupe Hernandez explained she earned, “$4 per hour working 10 hours a day 6 days a week in a factory with no running water and no bathroom.” Clearly the cost of fast fashion is too high!
  2. Sweatshop Labor overseas – As many are not aware, much of Forever 21’s products are not made in their own factories, but rather subcontracted out.  F21 finds third party manufactures who produce private label pieces (i.e. with Forever 21’s labels and hangtags) made in subcontracted overseas sweatshops to make the incredibly low price-point that F21 demands.  You see, Mexican/American sweatshop labor is far more expensive then that of Chinese, Cambodian, or Bangladeshi workers.  Forever 21 has repeatedly faced lawsuits regarding overseas sweatshop labor; however, they avoid the consequences by laying the blame on the third party contractors and deny any responsibilities.  Unfair labor practices, child labor, dangerous work environments and the exploitation of women are the true cost of that $12.99 sun dress you picked up.
  3. Designer copyright infringement – We’ve written before about the legalities of protecting a designer’s original designs and what can and can’t be protected in fashion.  Unfortunately knockoff’s and thievery are common place in the fashion industry and if not always illegal they are at least unethical.  Please check out our full post here about being inspired by a high-end designers and creating an affordable versions vs. running a business based solely on direct copycats.  Bottom line, Forever 21 is the largest offender of creating knockoffs, be it upscale designers or struggling independent designers, F21 is in essence stealing their livelihood from them.  They have been taken to the US District Courts for their violations and have been sued over 50 times in the last 4 years alone for copyright infringement!
  4. Proselytizing and shopping don’t mix – For those of you who are not aware, the owners of Forever 21 Mr. and Mrs. Chang are evangelical Christians and big supporters of Christian missionaries.  This, in and of itself, is not a big deal, however they have been accused of discriminating against employees and workers based on religion.  Mrs. Chang has been known to take young designers and send them on Christian missions and if they become “born again” they will be promoted and financially rewarded.  Have you ever looked at your Forever 21 packaging or shopping bags?  Those numbers printed on them are bible verses.  Frankly, we don’t need our tube tops and leggings preaching religion to us.

We encourage all of our readers to forward this post on to any of your friends, relatives, and coworkers, who perhaps shop Forever 21 and are unaware of their business practices. We encourage all of you to think about how you spend your buying dollar and support businesses that are deserving. Please check out the clip below from the documentary Made in LA.

39th and Broadway @ 39thandbroadway.comThe original is here: 39th and Broadway

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