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07 July 2007 @ 08:13 am
Forever 21 - good or bad?  
Remember that book Freedom of Simplicity I mentioned back in May? I finally finished it, and I still have to recommend it to just about everybody.

A chapter that's had a pretty big impact on me was a chapter on corporate responsibility. It's made me very self-conscious about everything I buy. I want to make sure that the things I purchase funnel money back into causes I care about, whether it be simply feeding the employees of a company (family owned restaurant) or to upholding standards beyond making money (LUSH and its beliefs of fresh product with ingredients that work, minimal environment impact, and desire to keep everything handmade, thus providing more jobs to the local economy).
Sometimes a conflict comes up. Should I buy clothes from Forever 21? The owners are Christian and many of the garments are made here in California, so buying from them supports the state economy and ensures there's less damage to the environment because of California's strict laws. On the other hand, the clothing is often poorly made so it won't "last" and it's worse for the environment, wasteful in a different way. There have also been calls for boycott because of withholding back pay to workers in the factory, but from what I've read it looks like Forever 21 has since settled these suits. So what is the right call?

See? I never used to think about these things? But that's the sort of thinking Freedom of Simplicity has encouraged in me. Hooray for being a slightly more conscientious person!
 
 
 
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Suzik00kaburra on July 7th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
thinking is best if it leads to creating. thinking for the sake of thinking doesn't seem to get much done.
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Narrator: shopping Ayuaswirlymatrix on July 8th, 2007 12:01 am (UTC)
Did Forever 21 settle the suits monetarily or actually allow their workers to form a union and create a better working environment? I remember those were some of the issues surrounding the suits.

If things were settled happily, I suppose I'd keep shopping at Forever 21. Though their clothes aren't made as well, and are thrown away faster, the success of this company means well paying jobs for many people who would have problems otherwise and inexpensive clothes for many who can't afford better. Maybe instead of keeping your money from Forever 21, you could start a recycling campaign; pass out fliers on reusing the clothing for rags or craft projects.
Suzik00kaburra on July 8th, 2007 05:07 am (UTC)
If I'm understanding what I've read correctly, the workers did not form a union. In the original case, Forever 21's position was that they were not responsible for sweatshop conditions because they contracted between separate factories, but didn't have a factory of their own. The district court agreed with them, but the Ninth Circle appeal court overturned that decision. Rather than go through another trial, Forever 21 just settled with money and agreed to work together toward a better future, or whatever. I haven't found many details since that decision at the end of 2004, so I'm not sure how Forever 21's doing now.
jeanniejeannietran on July 8th, 2007 03:40 am (UTC)
something tells me the fabulous will suffer if i read this book.
Suzik00kaburra on July 8th, 2007 05:09 am (UTC)
It might. But how much of the fabulous came from Forever 21 anyway? So far the only companies I've decided are Really Evil are Urban Outfitters and David & Goliath, because both companies have a history of stealing ideas from other artists.
jeanniejeannietran on July 8th, 2007 10:48 am (UTC)
two very critical pieces of fabulous came from forever 21 actually... my little black cocktail dress and a white flowy skirt. but those were rare and unusual finds, forever21 is just a blur of loud colors and ill-fitting styles now. the fabulous is slowly dragging me towards more designer labels, and i sometimes give in whenever the bank account permits. i blame the hair.