Tag Archives: forever 21

Don’t Be Afraid of the Web, Saving Gas By Avoiding the Mall (Sometimes) and Other Seasonal Advice

Think about your favorite season. Is it spring? Do you love pastels, floral prints and bright colors? Or maybe summer with zesty oranges and electric yellows?

Whatever you love, hopefully you’re ready for the bombshell that is fall. That’s right. Lurking around summer’s youthful corner is the cool breeze, crisp smell and new trends of fall. When fall rolls around, it’s important to stay grounded and focused amid all the new trends.

Courtesy of Forever21.com

If you’re shopping on a college budget, it’s also important to make the best use of your time, because multiple trips to the mall or downtown Columbia can turn into a tricky expense and a waste of time. This week, I’ll share my favorite tricks for narrowing your focus and looking amazing at an even more amazing price.

Courtesy of HM.com

First, know where to shop. Although you might feel miles away from Nordstrom, H&M and Forever 21, you can still buy cute, stylish clothes here in Columbia. One of my personal favorites is Plato’s Closet. Because we’re in a college town, online shopping — a great tool if you’re web-savvy and a huge, overpriced warehouse if you’re not — offers brands such as Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Divided by H&M and sometimes more high-end brands such as BCBG Max Azaria and Joe’s.

There are also a ton of vintage resale stores (if you’re into the more retro indie look) such as Maude V (We ALWAYS talk about them). If that’s not your style, there’s Buckle, which usually carries more modern trends and lots of leatherwear, along with other mall favorites. If you’re into the newer, 1990s retro comeback or army fatigue, Macy’s is where you’ll find it.

Madonna and Lourdes launched Material Girl in late August of 2010 — a brand that strongly re-embraces the tutu skirts, bright pink Ts and glittery leggings of the Madonna era. If you’re catering to your inner diva and have a boutique style in mind, I highly recommend Swank. With denim, tuxedo jackets, cocktail dresses, Juicy tracksuits and more, Swank is a boutique that lives in Columbia but has the spirit of the Big Apple and the Windy City breathing in every aisle.

Courtesy of TLC.com

Next, go with what works for you. As Clinton and Stacy of “What Not to Wear” will tell you, “Tailor, tailor, tailor!” Simply put, fashion is a much larger concept than what we see on E! or read in People. There are some clothes everyone looks good in. My favorite example is stripes. No matter what size you are or how tall you are, you can wear the style, and it can be tailored to fit your personal style and comfort level. The taller or thinner you are, the bigger your stripes can be. If you’re shorter or heavier, they should be thin.

Vertical stripes look best on shorter women and horizontal stripes look best on taller girls. Skinny jeans and “jeggings” aren’t for everyone because the cut of jean might not suit your body type. My advice is to try things on. If you like the skinny, washed denim look but don’t like the fit, go for a boot cut. It’ll present the illusion of a great fitted pair of jeans without obscurely contouring your shape.

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The Dark Side of American Fashion

One of the fastest growing "fast fashion" retailers in the world. With a dark shadow.

If you still shop at Forever 21, take a moment to read this. It might change your mind. 

In a crowded, stuffy warehouse, hundreds of women scramble to seam together hems of pants and attach sleeves to shirts. The room is smelly, and there are carriers filled with crying, tiny babies on the floor. The supervisor comes in and yells at the women to hurry or else they may not leave. Scared workers now rush to attach embellishments and details until they are finally sent home with little pay, no dignity and withered anticipation of change.

This description reflects many unfair labor practices around the world and more specifically, highlights the horrible working conditions and underpayment of garment workers in an industry that makes so much money. What some do not know, however, is that this description mimics what goes on right here on our own soil.

Retail Fashion has forever been a competition between price and quality. Big retailers stores like Target and H&M have begun offering popular name brands with looks inspired by the runway at fairly cheaper prices—commonly referred to by industry leaders as “fast fashion”.

And with the economy struggling to find stability, more designers are recreating their brands for the middle class sector and launching in-house “generic” lines. One company in particular has continued to climb the ranks of discount retailers over the last 10 years and is now a powerhouse in the ever expanding and contracting retail market — that company is Forever 21. South Korean immigrant Dong-Won Chang and his wife started the store in a small, 900-square-foot storefront in Los Angeles. It has now grown into a well-established national brand and operates in more than 450 stores worldwide.

As wonderful as it is to know such a success story exists in modern America, it is hard to stomach how the company grew to such a magnitude. Using unfair labor practices, underpaid workers and no sympathy for the human condition, Forever 21 executives relied on sweatshops housed in the historic fashion district of Los Angeles to make its clothing, accessories and money for the last decade.

The documentary “Made in L.A.” follows the journey of a group of women who, with the help of LA’s Garment Worker Center, change the labor laws and embark on a journey to change the world. All are undocumented immigrants who are told they have no rights, no voice and no hope. But as they learn more about the labor laws and themselves, they evolve into confident, strong women who are activists for a universal cause. Through several ups and downs, “Made in L.A.” shows what it really means to be an American.

On the other side of the spectrum, Los Angeles-based company American Apparel has worked diligently to change unfair labor practices across the country. Its campaign, Legalize L.A., specifically focuses on the rights of all Americans — legal and illegal.

In their Legalize LA information packet, CEO and Founder Dov Charney explains how media outlets, politicians and business play in restricting immigrants’ rights.

“Businesses are afraid are generally afraid to speak out because they’re frightened of reprisals by government agencies…”

The company continues to strive for immigrants’ rights and workers’ rights by lobbying, rallying and educating the American public.

“Our dream for Los Angeles is that the over 1 million undocumented migrant workers who live here, and contribute to the city economically, culturally, and socially will have the opportunity to become legal residents of the city, and the United States.”

American-made products strengthen our economy, but at the cost of civil rights and responsibility, we lose so much more. Legalize L.A. pamphlets are available at all American Apparel retailers, and its entire platform can be found on the company’s website.

In recent years, Forever 21 has made slight changes to their labor practices, mainly due to media pressure, however, their ethics and legal practices are still questionable.

As a consumer in a fast paced society like ours, remember that while you will NEVER pay $60 for anything at Forever 21, you sacrifice much more and the stakes are much higher than money.

To find out more about ethical fashion practices, visit http://www.ecofashionworld.com/ and the next time you buy “American-made,” consider the source.

Your Ethisit

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