Yesterday, ethical fashion collective Zady issued a battle cry against fast fashion companies like Forever 21, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Zara, and Topshop in the form of a full-page, no-punches-pulled ad in The Wall Street Journal. “Fast fashion is fast food,” the ad declares, listing some of the horrific side effects of our culture’s fast fashion addiction: exploited workers (mostly women), toxic pollution, and landfills overflowing with cheap, disposable clothing. It’s time to change our shopping habits. It’s time to value quality over quantity. It’s time to demand sustainable practices, fair wages, and safe work environments from the companies we support with our dollars. As Zady’s website puts it, “We should not be compelled to accept throwaway goods as a way of life.” Forgive me for being less than eloquent, but FUCK YES. Keep reading »
It’s been about 6 months since I vowed to overhaul my shopping habits and become a more conscious consumer. One of my main goals was to cut back on fast fashion, AKA super cheap, trendy clothes from stores like Forever 21, Zara, H&M, and Topshop that refresh their inventory almost daily and rely heavily on sweat shop labor. Honestly, I didn’t realize how addicted I was to fast fashion until I tried to break my habit. It’s been a bumpy road (and I still haven’t phased it out completely), but the rewards are worth it: my closet is less crowded, my clothes are better quality, and I feel better about where my money’s going. If you’ve been thinking of cutting down on your fast fashion consumption (woohoo! you go girl!), here are 5 tips I learned the hard way:
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When I think of Forever 21, I definitely think of ethical egoism and the Objectivist movement, not sweatshop-like labor conditions and cozy accessories starting at $2.80. You can find this “Unstoppable Muscle Tee” emblazoned with an Ayn Rand quote referring to the author’s capitalist-based theory of Objectivism, the basis of which is that the moral purpose of life is “rational self-interest,” right next to the “Free Spirit Weekender Dress,” which reads “Pizza, Love, Boys, Music, Parties, Dancing, Whatever.” Pizza, love, boys, music, parties, dancing, Objectivism, whatever! [Time]
On the one hand, I’m not the hugest fan of Forever 21. As a company they’ve a history of things like (allegedly) ripping off designers and (allegedly) mistreating workers. And when I bought things from them back in my high school days they always fell apart. On the other hand: I really like that pencil skirt, and some of the sweaters are decidedly nice and snuggly-looking. I’m just going to wistfully look at some of the items in the company’s new Bats & Cats collection and wish someone else made them, but you can decide for yourself. Read more on The Mary Sue…
Forever 21, you just keep getting better and better. In between lowering your prices to make them more “guilt-free” (with little thought, of course, to the workers who actually make the products), and getting in trouble for sweatshop-like labor conditions, you’ve now gone and fucked over the people who work in your stores. Earlier this week, Forevs sent out a memo noting that any and all “non-management” full-time employees would be reclassified as part-time, effective almost immediately.
“Forever 21,” reads the memo from human resources associate director Carla Macias, “recently audited its staffing levels, staffing needs and payroll in conjunction with reviewing its overall operating budget. As a result, we are reducing a number of full-time non-management positions.” All employees who received the memo will be reduced to a schedule to not exceed 29.5 hours per week. Why is that the magic number? Because under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, mid- and large-sized employers are required to pay for health insurance for employees who work 30 hours or more. Forever 21 thinks it can get around this simply by reducing its technically-full time staff to part-time positions.
And they’re right. Keep reading »
Back in April, hundreds of workers died after a building collapse at the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh. In the wake of this tragedy, the Bangladesh Safety Accord was created, with the aim of ensuring safety for clothing manufacturer employers. It’s overseen by the United Nation’s International Labor Organization, and signees to the accord agree to regular factory inspections and improved safety measures and standards at factories that produce their garments.
But guess who’s not down to protect the lives of their factory workers? TopShop, that’s who. Since April, more than 80 companies have signed the accord, including H&M, Mango and even Abercrombie & Fitch. (You can check out the full list here.) TopShop agreed to sign in May, but has yet to actually take pen to paper — even after they were urged by the British government to do so in June. Keep reading »
Whoa boy, Forever 21 is in trouble again. And this time it’s not with designers claiming the company has ripped them off. No, now the U.S. Department of Labor is peeved with the company, over their refusal to release labor records. Forevs was subpoenaed for the records on August 21, but has thus far refused to comply with the request. At issue are several wage, overtime and records-keeping violations by companies affiliated with the manufacture of Forever 21 merchandise. Keep reading »
I’m a little uneasy about getting older, but it’s definitely not something that’s on my mind 24/7. There is one place, however, that forces me to confront the harsh passage of time more than any other, and that’s the mall. Stores I once bounded into with youthful glee now turn me into a scowling curmudgeon. Here are 10 stores that my 27-year-old self can barely handle, and why … Keep reading »
Forever 21 gets sued by a lot of people, but usually it’s for things like copyright infringement or stealing designers’ work. The latest lawsuit is coming from inside the corporation, though. Employees Jazzreeal Jones, Jessica Ramos, Shanelle Thompson, Alyssa Elias and Tiffinee Linthicum claim that they were kept after the ends of shifts and during their lunch breaks in order to be searched for stolen merchandise. Because in those cases they had already clocked out, the employees are claiming they deserve to be paid for that time.
If their claim is deemed legitimate, then it could force Forever 21 to pay millions in back wages to other employees who have undergone similar treatment. Keep reading »
Forever 21′s warpath of cultural and social appropriation knows no bounds. Its latest target? The obscure ’80s San Francisco punk band Flipper, whose most well-known fan was probably the late great Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. It seems ye olde Forevs has reproduced a DIY-ed Flipper T that Kurt Cobain MADE HIMSELF in its latest round of men’s shirts. We suppose it’s rather smart of them to rip off a dead rockstar — much less likely to be sued by Cobain from beyond the grave than by some of the other victims of its recent scams. Still, we can’t help but hope someone from the band sees their blatant attempt at punk rock cred and calls them out on it in a very public, embarrassing way. It’s what Kurt would have wanted. [Death And Taxes]