Sunday, February 16, 2014

Blog #1 - Forever 21 continues to disappoint me! 
Vy Nguyen

My first weekend of participating in the “Be Green Challenge” ironically started at Forever 21 shop in Valley Fair Mall with my cousin Hang who recently comes to the United States for school. Upon her request, we ended up at Forever 21 buying more than hundred dollars worth of clothing and handbags. Since I just saw the lawsuit against Forever 21's unethical practice on immigrant workers from the movie “Made in L.A” in class this week, I felt obligated to inform my cousin about the products she was buying. Just as expected, she said the lawsuit had nothing to do with her, especially when she will only be living in California for the next three years for graduate school. According to Hang, Forever 21 is “so cheap and trendy just like any self-opened clothing shops in Saigon”. From my experience, I was amazed how Forever 21 can publicly sell designer bag imitations for so cheap without anyone reporting.
The specific imitation that I saw was the 3.1 Phillip Lim leather handbag which supposes to cost $895. The Forever 21 imitation looks almost identical with the mock-off price of around $40. Seeing teenagers grabbing these bags one by one from the display table reminded me of the comment my classmate said, “It is also the consumers' fault for purchasing and supporting business like Forever 21”. As much as I hope that this case is similar to the Phillip Lim handbag sale at Target, Forever 21 gave no credit to the designer and shamelessly put Forever 21 tag on the handbag. Credit to the article “Santa's Sweatshop” by Holstein, Palmer, Ur-Rehman and Ito, most young consumers are unaware of where these clothes are made. As these authors stressed “what Americans buy is their most direct and intimate connection with a global economy”, it is crucial that we - educated consumers - understand the interconnection and transnational relation of these clothing. Once there is a demand of trendy and cheap clothing, Forever 21 or any business alike will always make great bucks! In the end, whose fault is it to blame? 

Inside source: Holstein, William J., et al. "Santa's sweatshop." US News & World Report 50 (1996).
Outside source: "Forever 21 Mock-off." Personal interview. 16 Feb. 2014.

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