The Real Reasons You Should Avoid Shopping At Forever 21 Are Now Clear

Forever 21 is a store most — if not all of us — know as window-shoppers or consumers. Marketed towards teens and college students, the brand remains popular to this day, presumably because of the immense choice it offers when it comes to clothes. Although Forever 21 did file for bankruptcy, you can still buy the brand's clothes online and in select American stores.

However, the brand is definitely not free of controversy. Amongst other things, Her Campus reported that Forever 21 has been sued over 50 times by companies and designers for blatantly plagiarizing designs. Amongst those who sued the brand are designer labels Anna Sui and Diane von Furstenberg (via Jezebel). It isn't just companies who are suing either, as singer Ariana Grande went against the brand in 2019 for using a model who looked eerily similar to her despite the fact she declined to work with the company (via BBC).

Behind the flashy branding and affordable clothes, the truth is that Forever 21 has been hit with far more scandals than just copyright issues. Although more shoppers nowadays are looking for sustainable clothing to help the environment, the micro-trends which accelerate fast fashion can still be found in droves at the shop — and that's just one of the things wrong with Forever 21. 

Forever 21 may have cheap clothes, but there's a dark side to the company too

According to sustainability rating website Good On You, Forever 21 should be avoided completely. It has the lowest possible score in most aspects, including a "Very Poor" rating in the environmental conditions categories. This rating is due to the complete lack of information given by Forever 21 in regards to its sustainability policies.

The company did receive a slightly higher rating in the "Animal Welfare" category due to the fact it doesn't use leather or fur, and has a statement regarding minimizing animal suffering. However, it does still use wool and exotic animal hair, making it one to avoid for vegans and strict vegetarians. 

Perhaps worst of all, Forever 21 did not sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety (via The New Yorker). Their refusal to sign this important document makes it clear that the brand does not care about the safety of its employees. Plus, the company does not currently pay employees a living wage, with one shocking report revealing that workers were paid only $6 per hour in their Los Angeles factories (via Los Angeles Times).

The company has been involved in a number of scandals over the past few years

Along with its issues with ethics and sustainability, Forever 21 has faced backlash on several occasions. 

As outlined by Allure, the store sent out some free bars with orders in 2019. Though it is somewhat normal to receive freebies with clothing orders, the issue is that the bars were Atkins diet bars and appeared to only be included in plus-size clothing orders. Receiving a diet bar in an order could not only trigger individuals with eating issues, but also make plus-size individuals feel as though they need to change their body. Though Forever 21 released a statement to reassure customers that the diet bars were included randomly across orders and not just plus-size ones, the damage had already been done for many. 

Moreover, in 2016, Cosmopolitan reported on a Forever 21 product that had a disturbing message on. The men's t-shirt featured a slogan that seemed to make light of consent — "DON'T SAY MAYBE IF YOU WANT TO SAY NO." Much like the company stopped including the diet bars in future orders, it removed the t-shirt from the website alongside an apologetic statement when major backlash occurred. 

Still, the fact it was designed and being sold at all is proof of how little Forever 21 seems to care about the wellbeing of its customers, along with the lack of care they have about sustainability and paying employees a good wage.