Friday, May 22, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

(Picture courtesy of

I will admit it. I am a shopaholic. When I see something cute that fits my budget (but I don’t necessarily need), I will buy it. Sometimes even if it doesn’t fit my budget… The main thing for me in my shopaholic frenzy is to fulfill the pangs of desire to have new clothing. Something about having new clothing is an incredible pick-me-up. For someone like me, Forever 21 is heaven-sent. Good prices, good styles… it’s really just about instant gratification here.

Since beginning the compact challenge and through reading more about this retailer, I have found Forever 21 to be less appealing than I previously have. In my “Principles of Fashion Marketing” class, it’s always being presented as the store people love to hate. How can you not love a fashionable store with great prices?! …That is, until you find out WHY their clothing is so inexpensive.

Forever 21 has become more of a guilty pleasure… emphasis on the guilt. Knowing their labor and ethical issues of the past (Byun 1), it leaves me questioning what the current state of their brand is now in terms of labor and ethics issues. Truthfully, it’s difficult to walk by the store with its prominently displayed sale and “Fabulous Finds” signs. Because honestly, those finds are pretty fabulous. It doesn’t help that their business has expanded to include stores such as Heritage 1981, another store I love because of its prices and styles. But with a second look at any of their clothing, one can deduce how cheap the material is and find it to be disposable and not likely to last long. Same with the trends, so maybe Forever 21 is actually practical in some sense. The designs are trendy and cute, but fashions last only for so long.

This again employs the theory of trickle-down. Lower classes, or people who don’t want to pay a lot of money for expensive, trendy clothing, instead buy cheaper clothing of the same design but lesser material. Fashions are trickling down from high quality high fashion, to high fashion low quality. Fashion is being recycled because it takes longer to get from the fashionistas and trend originators to the masses and the stores like Forever 21, which is where many people shop (Kawamura 19).

Each of us is wearing Forever 21 in this picture ... it's inescapable.

Courtney Lorca
Blog Post #3
  1. Byun, Chuck Q. "Forever in Trouble?". New American Media April 4, 2003.
  2. Fashion-ology: An Introduction to Fashion Studies by Yuniya Kawamura

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