Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Forever 21 Controversy ...

Ok, so you may have heard that Forever 21 recently launched a maternity line, Love21.  There's a bunch of controversy around this because, well, Forever 21 is seen as a store for juniors and is being accused of marketing cool and cheap maternity clothes to their teen clientele.  Some say they are trying to glamorize pregnancy.  Making it more interesting is the accusation that they only launched the in-store line in states with high teen pregnancy rates.  While this may be true, part of the line is available online and I'm sure they will probably expand to more stores soon.  

So here's my take.  Initially, I was appalled.  However, now that I've been sitting on this for a week, I'm not so condemning.  I took a look at Forever 21 demographics and was surprised at what I found.  More than 1/2 of their shoppers are age 18-50. Of that, 45% are 18-34.  So are they targeting to teens on purpose?  I really don't think so.  I actually think they found a niche that needs to be filled.  Cool, trendy and super cheap maternity clothes for middle/lower income pregnant women.  Their stuff is kind of cute and will give women on a budget a funky/fashionable alternative to Target and Old Navy.  Also, their clothes tend to be cut smaller (think juniors section) so they are also targeting petite pregnant women and since one of their largest group of shoppers are Asian women, this is a wise move.  Interestingly enough, H&M has similar demographics and a maternity line and they haven't received any slack.  But, that's probably because they carry all sizes and genders.

So in the end, I think it's a shrewd business move.  Is it appropriate, prudent, or ethical? That remains to be seen.  However, if it turns out that they really are marketing to teens -- I take this all back.   

So, what do you think?

Here's a peek at their online collection:

Some recent articles:



1 comment:

  1. Personally, I'm aggravated by this. Maybe it's because I'm a jaded (former) infertile girl who is just annoyed at the thought of a big-box retail store like Forever 21 targeting such a vulnerable demographic. Shrewd or not, the clothing at their stores targets the teen demographic and I think they're trying to glamorize pregnancy. You don't have to look very far to see other major companies doing the same thing ... but it doesn't make it "right" in my eyes.
    It's kinda like Baby Gap selling maternity.