Boycotting Forever 21, still and always
For years now, I've refused to shop with the mass retailer Forever 21. Many reasons, most of which I could go on and on about, have caused me to vow to never ever give the company another penny of mine because I feel so strongly. Their human rights abuses in the past, exploitation of sweatshop workers, their cheap fast fashion that fills landfills, the clothing that's poorly made and doesn't last, the cotton crops that are taking over fields previously used for food (that very well may cause a global food shortage in the next century), and stealing work from designers.
I've written about it in the past, and it's still in my manta to not shop retail. For many readers and consumers out there, these reasons may or may not concern/bother you, but the last one should. Their blatant theft of designs from small, one-woman businesses. Designers that pour their heart into their designs, only for this company to get rid selling cheap knock offs of them. Yesterday, another theft from Knickerocker by Forever 21, her animal knickers.
"This really sucks on all levels and I’m actually quiet upset about it. The thing with designs, especially clothing is that its really hard, if not impossible to patent/ copywriter and further more, being a small, independent, handmade designer, I just couldn’t afford to do this anyway.
And yes, I’ve seen various underwear designers copy aspects of my animal undies - there is a company out there who are printing on American Apparel undies and have the face and ears on the front. They do have the added bonus of being friends with a bunch of alt models with large social media followings, but they did at least have their own perspective of sorts on my idea and just the other day, I saw that a shop on Etsy was selling underwear with ears but no face. Good for these two companies, this is how trends work, I get it. But Forever21, have just blatantly ripped me off rather than putting their own twist on a trend.
I am a small indie designer, and everything is handmade - last year during the holidays, my Etsy shop became incredibly busy, so much so, I was able to employ 4 other people. This was really awesome and I payed well above the min wage, even though after I did my taxes, I didn’t actually make that much money, however, I would of just felt super crappy if I’d payed low wages or no wages. I’m pretty sure Forever21 don’t feel the same. Also, some people say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Its not. Right now, I’m looking into having my designs ethically manufactured, I want to offer a lower price point and I’d love to do wholesale, Forever 21 stealing my designs will probably have some affect on my ability to do this.
But back to copying. I see it all the time on Etsy, just because you think you can make something cheaper than another designer, doesn’t mean you should. Who knows how many harness bra’s there are on Etsy right now. Its craziness. There is plenty of room for everyone, but have your own point of view, do something new, something different, something more. This is the key to being successful, if you have something new and awesome to say, people will listen.
Again, thank you for listening to me. I hope in someway, I can get Forever21’s attention and perhaps they’ll remove my ripped of designs from their stores.
You can buy the originals here - www.knickerocker.etsy.com"
My heart aches for her and all her hard work, having just moved halfway across the world, running her shop all on her own, and then to discover this horrible ripoff from a multi-million dollar company. And the sad reality is: Forever 21 is not breaking any law. It's almost impossible to trademark clothing, and many good reasons why, but many instances where you wish that it could be trademarked. As a small business woman myself, this could have just as easily happened to me, and hell, maybe it will someday. And it could happen to any of my colleagues that I connect with, all over the world, through social networking.
So please, think twice before shopping with companies like Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and Anthropologie, just a few of the ones that have been caught. Of course, we all need clothes, and not everyone can take handmade or nothing new pledge, but be aware of where your money goes. A $5 t-shirt has so many hidden costs.
The ripped off $6 Forever 21 Raccoon bikinis, above, have already sold out on F21's EU site. With Nichola not receiving one red penny from the sales. Show your support for handmade and check out Knickerocker on Etsy. And please share this with your friends.