Before it was Forever 21, though, it was Fashion 21, which was started in 1984 by a young Korean couple who had just immigrated to L.A. The couple, Jin Sook Chang and Do Won Chang, were successful at selling clothes they bought for cheap from wholesalers.
The couple then decided to open more stores, and evetually crafted their brand of a cheap fast fashion store that sells clothes and accessories to, “anyone who wants to be trendy, fresh and young in spirit,” according to the Forever 21 website.
At their peak, Forever 21 was the place to go for teens and young adults looking for trendy peices that didn’t break the bank. Forever 21 may have introduced this type of store to the market, but now their competitors are doing it better.
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At its peak, @forever21 made $4.4 billion in revenue and was one of the fastest-growing fast fashion empires. Now, the retailer is preparing to file for bankruptcy after alienating its core customers and struggling to keep up with the rise of e-commerce. As one of the largest tenants of American malls, a large-scale shutdown of Forever 21's stores could exacerbate the ongoing retail apocalypse.
Stores like H&M and Zara, as well as online retailers like Fashion Nova, are all front runners of the the fast fashion race, and Forever 21 is left in the dust. The store seems to have lost the ability to attract it’s once wide clientele.
It will be hard, but it’s possible for Forever 21 to come back from this slump. The store could use some serious rebranding. To have any sort of chance at being successfull again, they’ll need to find a way to bring their slightly older clientele back into the store. Whether that means having higher quality goods at higher prices, or something else, that is really Forever 21’s only shot of truly being forever.