Forever 21 - What Your "Deals" are Supporting


The saying goes that ignorance is bliss and I'm swinging between the lines of whether somethings are better off not being known, or if knowledge really does equate to a level of empowerment.

Whenever words such as "sweat shops" are uttered, the frequent misconception is that such poor labor practices are something that only exists everywhere else, in Asia, India or South America.  The truth is that, these injustices can take place anywhere, even in L.A.

As I was driving back from Los Angeles today, I meandered through the inside roads to avoid the traffic as much as possible and found myself grazing in the area known as the fashion district in downtown L.A.  Just along certain areas, you can see huge factories, streets of garment vendors and signs boasting great deals, need of labor, imported items and more.

A recent documentary called "Made in L.A" follows workers and exposes the deplorable working conditions that exists in garment manufacturing plants right in Los Angeles. 

While the lure of inexpensive fashion is one that's hard to resist by anyone, it's good to understand what your discounted garb is costing someone somewhere else.  The choice to care then rests on the individual.

Even I must admit that I've purchased items at Forever 21 and found many of their price points and some trendy looks too hard to pass up.  Despite this, I've always had this sometimes like, but mostly hate, relationship with Forever 21 and would never really consider items purchased from there, out of my love for fashion.  In fact 90% of anything I've ever bought from Forever 21 has either torn, faded, resulted with broken zippers, or has continually left blue on my fingernails.  I'll admit that over the years they have increased their quality, size of stores, variety and have marketed themselves quite well in the media, but beneath their no return policies and banana yellow bags, still beholds stolen designs, poor treatment of employees, and even worst conditions for those that make the clothes.

39th & Broadway posted an article about the many things that's wrong with Forever 21 and the difference between "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."

The biggest irony of them all is that Mr. and Mrs Chang, the owners of F21 are supposed to be Christians that constantly spout about the word of Christ and even print bible verses on their bags, yet they make billions and pay their retail store reps nothing, and treat those that make the garments even worst.

All of this doesn't mean that fashion and chasing trends needs to break everyone's wallets, but stores such as Target, Some lines of H&M (research items as some of their organic cottons have been speculated to be falsely marked), ZARA, Cotton On and more are all purveyors of disposable fashion for the budget conscious. 

F21 is planning to open 30 department stores nationwide, and with how well their business has grown and their abundant cash flow, they can afford to give back to the people who have made their business. 

For another documentary on how clothes are made accross the world visit

Although I'm far from what would be considered as a human rights monomaniac, it doesn't take being an activist to smell that there is definitely something not right with the water.  F21 is a  company run by self-proclaimed Christians that make billions off of putting out poor quality clothing and exploiting their workers.  Their success is just a reflection on consumerism and how consequences take no matter as long as a dollar is saved.

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