Forever 21 opens on Newbury Street

Beata Rybka, Beacon Staff

The only Forever 21 location in Boston opened its doors on our very own Newbury Street just days before Christmas.

“When we first opened, it was a rush to get into the store,” Kat Vicente, Forever 21 employee said. The three floors, each cover the franchise’s various brands, including Forever 21, Heritage 1981, Love 21 and 21 Men.

“It was overwhelming in the best way,” said Mykah Murphy, a marketing communication freshman.

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Forever 21 may be a new face among the storefronts of Newbury Street, but the budget-friendly fashion franchise has been around since the 80s. With over 355 locations across the country, it’s one of the 50 largest privately owned companies in Los Angeles.

However, the clothing store was not always the well-known fashion line it is today. Forever 21, once Fashion 21, opened its doors for the first time on April 21, 1984 on Figueroa Street in downtown LA. Its owners, Don Chang and his wife, Jin Sook, had immigrated to the US from South Korea in pursuit of the American Dream.

Today, Forever 21 is a big fish in the “fast fashion” pond. Fast fashion focuses more on following the newest trends, whether they’re coming from big or small designers, but doing so on a budget. As a result, while paychecks dwindle and other stores struggle to clear out their inventory, customers flock to Forever 21.

“I like the variety of options they supply,” said Lindsay Day, writing, literature, and publishing junior. “I’m just afraid to go because I spend all my money.” According to Forever 21’s profile on Yahoo! Finance, their top competitors in the fast fashion niche are Charlotte Russe and H&M.

Forever 21 is no doubt a popular brand among many Emersonians. “It’s really cheap and really fashionable at the same time,” said Meaghan Barry, marketing communication junior.

Since a 2004 campaign by PETA2, the younger generation of animal activists, Forever 21 even has animal lover appeal since it stopped selling designs made with animal fur.

But at the end of last year, Forever 21 made headlines for less favorable news. Major designers like Diane Von Furstenberg and Gwen Stefani filed lawsuits against the company for copying their designs and patterns. Most of the brand’s appeal however, lies in their ability to offer styles closely resembling those fresh off the Fashion Week catwalk, and squabbles likes these don’t seem to discourage shoppers from getting the most out of their buck. “Being fashionable at a cheaper price sounds very appealing to me,” said Murphy. “I’m not brand loyal so that makes me more inclined to shop at Forever 21.”