The brand that would eventually grow into Forever 21 is truly the product of two immigrants pursuing the American dream. Husband and wife team Don and Jin Sook Chang moved to the United States in the early 1980s and were inspired by the garment industry. In 1984, they opened their first store in Los Angeles' Highland Park, called Fashion 21. Initially, the retailer featured clothing that was inspired by South Korean styles and targeted the Korean-American community, but the clientele eventually became more diverse. Once their new endeavor became successful, the Changs made an effort to reinvest their profits by opening up a new store every six months. Eventually, they changed the name of the company to Forever 21 and rebranded every store except the first one, which is still in business today under its original masthead.
Through the years, Forever 21 has grown exponentially. The company operates more than 500 stores in about 50 countries. Still a family-owned business, Forever 21 is the fifth-largest specialty retailer in the U.S., and its founders have gone on to become billionaires. Affordable pricing and trendy styles have spurred success for more than three decades, and the company is constantly diversifying into new lines of clothes--including its intimates, men's, girls', cosmetics, and plus-sized collections.
The goal of Forever 21 has always been to offer fashions that echo the latest trends at a fraction of the cost charged by luxury designers. Actual styles are constantly changing, but the brand makes sure that it always offers a huge selection of garments. Dresses are divided into categories like casual, "day to night," and night-out. Styles like t-shirt dresses, A-line dresses, babydoll dresses, shift dresses, and more are available in mini, midi, and maxi cuts. Tops run the full gamut from graphic tees to fashionable blouses, tunics, and knits. Sweaters, sweatshirts, and cardigans also feature a variety of weaves, patterns, and prints. In terms of outerwear, you'll find jackets, blazers, and vests for all sorts of weather.
Jeans in different cuts and featuring different washes are popular bottoms, as are leggings, flared pants, trousers, and sweats. Forever 21's shorts are made from a variety of fabrics and available in styles like high-waisted, trouser, brocade, and more. Skirts, rompers, and bodysuits are also available in different patterns and designs. Intimates include bras, panties, sports bras, babydolls, and shapewear. An athletic line also features activewear for training or playing sports. In addition to clothing, Forever 21 offers all sorts of accessories--from bags to shoes to makeup.
Like a few other stores that popped up around the same time period, Forever 21 set itself apart by basing its designs on the latest trends without charging the absurd prices demanded by fashion houses. The brand has been incredibly successful at imitating luxury labels--so successful, in fact, that it's been sued by plenty of designers for infringement through the years. Forever 21 proves that you don't have to be a millionaire to express your sense of style, which is why so many women connect with the brand. The clothes are also so incredibly varied that it's almost impossible not to connect with at least some of the garments you'll find. On the whole, we give Forever 21 5 stars out of 5.
- Established 1984
- Affordable, fashionable apparel and accessories
- Sold at:
- Forever 21 stores, XXI Forever flagship stores, and online
- Types of items:
- Casual dresses, formal dresses, graphic tees, blouses, tops, tunics, tanks, camis, sweatshirts, cardigans, sweaters, jackets, blazers, vests, jeans, leggings, trousers, sweats, shorts, skirts, rompers, bodysuits, bras, panties, sportswear, shoes, makeup, accessories
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