Not So Forever 21


Morgan Carhart and Basia Griffin

Forever 21 is a fast fashion retailer popular among teens internationally. They are known for having trendy clothes, accessories, shoes, and more, all sold at a cheap price.


However, despite Forever 21’s popularity, the store has filed for bankruptcy and plans to close 528 stores worldwide. This has come about due to changes in customer behavior, multiple lawsuits, and more awareness about the environmental impacts of fast fashion.


In the past decade many malls across the U.S. have begun to lose foot traffic; meaning people are not coming to malls to shop anymore. Instead, they prefer to do their shopping online. This is because shopping online can be less time consuming, you don’t have to leave your house, and there are many online applications that can help people get great deals.


But it’s not only mall foot traffic that’s killing the store. Forever 21 has had to deal with multiple lawsuits and mass amounts of backlash regarding their environmental impact.


The fast fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to pollution worldwide. Forever 21 is known for being stylish and inexpensive, but this is only because their clothes are cheaply made and they get rid of old items and bring in new ones nearly every week, you can only imagine the amount of wasted clothing this must produce. So what happens to the old clothes that don’t sell? They dump them into our landfills and oceans.


And to make matters even worse, Forever 21 is under fire for supposedly having poor working conditions and treating their employees unfairly.


In 2017 a report about Forever 21 was published by The Los Angeles Times. This report highlighted what made Forever 21’s clothes so cheap. And to no surprise, it was the exploitation of workers in what was called, “sweatshop like conditions.” One worker even claimed that they were only paid six dollars an hour.


All of these reasons together have contributed to the decline of this famous fast-fashion chain.


The downfall of Forever 21 has even affected the students of Terra Linda High School. There is one down at Northgate Mall and because of Forever 21’s low price range, many teens and kids go there to buy their clothes.

One TL student told The Voice, “It’s just so sad. I used to shop there all the time. Where else am I supposed to shop? I don’t have a lot of money and I don’t want to go H&M or Salt Tree.”


However, on the other end of the spectrum, some people could not be bothered to see them go. 


“I think people got tired of them and their clothes.’’  exclaimed a TL student, Elda, junior. I honestly just can’t see a lot of people wearing the stuff they sell, and the stuff they sell just isn’t practical. A lot of people don’t find it cute or want to buy it like its so ugly.”


Another Terra Linda High School student, Emma, a junior, shared her own thoughts about Forever 21 closing, “Honestly, it [Forever 21 closing] makes me kind of glad because fast-fashion is so bad for the environment and Forever 21 has been caught so many times stealing people’s designs and photos. I think people are becoming more aware and learning about how bad fast fashion is.”


The closing of Forever 21 will lead to changes in how the students at TL shop. Many kids will need to find new places to get affordable clothes, possibly heading to other stores in the mall like Salt Tree or H&M.  Or maybe the downfall of Forever 21 will provoke more kids to head to thrift stores or buy more environmentally friendly clothing. It’s affordable and there are always new and interesting styles to find. If you want to learn more about thrifting, check out our article about thrift stores in the general Terra Linda area!