Forever 21 is a popular clothing store for women of all ages – under and over 21 years old. In proof, the family-owned brand is the fifth biggest specialty retailer in the US.
Their cheap clothing is mass-produced in sweatshops, allowing them to charge super low prices for cute dresses, cardigans, shoes, and just about anything else you’d want to add to your wardrobe. They even make men’s clothing now.
Masses flock to the supersized stores, which you can find in most malls around the US and beyond.
A large percentage of their customers choose to shop online as well, although they recently pissed off a lot of plus-sized customers who ordered clothes online and received a ‘free gift with purchase’ – an Atkins diet bar.
Popular with millennials, Forever 21 picked the wrong group to body-shame. After all, millennials are all about body positivity.
Sending an Atkins diet bar with plus-size clothing orders sends a message, one that really upset several customers who took to Twitter to share their rants.
Customers were in a rage that Forever 21 included a diet bar with their plus-size clothing.
Forever 21 really put a fucking diet bar in with my plus size clothing order…I fucking can’t. ?
— ✨?Kat Ravioli?✨ (@PinkMaggitKat) July 22, 2019
“Hey @forever21 do you include weightloss Atkins bars in all your shipments or just in the ones for ladies over 1k??” -Katya (@wisekatya)
One woman was stoked on her recent weight loss – having gone from a size 24 to a size 18, she ordered some Forever 21 jeans in celebration only to find a diet bar in her package upon arrival.
“What are you trying to tell me Forever 21, I’m FAT, LOSE WEIGHT?”
I went from a size 24 to 18, still a plus size girl, so I ordered jeans from @Forever21 Opened the package, when I looked inside I see this Atkins bar. What are you trying to Tell me Forever 21, I’m FAT, LOSE WEIGHT? do you give these to NON-PLUS SIZE WOMEN as well? pic.twitter.com/ds8kUTs7T7
— MissGG?️? (@MissGirlGames) July 19, 2019
“YES shame on me for ordering from @Forever21 but why do they have to push diet food on me?? It came with an Atkins bar??” – chloe (@wtfxchloe)
In Forever 21’s defense, women who ordered small and medium sizes (not from the plus-size line) also received a diet bar.
i just bought a bunch of xs/s clothes and got one too, i don't think its anything personal..
— kec ? (@stxrkid) July 23, 2019
I’m a small pick ya battles pic.twitter.com/oV64Siafje
— Leah (@eahLay) July 23, 2019
Forever 21’s spokesperson released a statement on the matter:
“From time to time, Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders. The freebie items in question were included in all online orders, across all sizes and categories, for a limited time and have since been removed. This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way.”
And they aren’t lying. Another customer didn’t get a diet bar, instead she received a free razor with her order.
— Joniah✨ (@Joniahhh) July 23, 2019
Although, despite the fact they aren’t signaling out any one group, some women don’t like the notion of sending out a diet bar to young, impressionable women.
Forever 21 is sending diet bars with clothes you order and that’s so insensitive holy crap like…. how about we don’t make someone negatively reflect on their body image when trying to just order some new outfits ? ????
— taylor nicole dean (@taylorndean) July 23, 2019
If this is indeed a brand partnership between you @Forever21 + Atkins I’d strongly suggest you reevaluate it Not only is it coming off as discriminatory but it isn’t even rolled out well – Its completely catching customers off guard with distasteful implied message to lose weight
— Shelby Ivey Christie (@bronze_bombSHEL) July 23, 2019
Brand partnership with Atkins or not, Forever 21 should realize that this kind of marketing campaign could make their customers feel bad about themselves – no matter what size they wear.
There are so many instances when women are made to feel bad about their bodies, ordering clothes shouldn’t be one of them.
Want another reason to hate-on Forever 21? They are far from ethical. Even when compared to other trendy and affordable clothing stores like H&M and Zara, Forever 21 is trailing far behind.
The company has yet to come out and say anything about their environmental impact, which leads us to believe it’s not very good.
Plus, the clothing brand received a D+ from the 2017 Ethical Fashion Report, which looks at factors like payment of a living wage, transparency and worker empowerment initiatives.
While some of their supply chain is traced with a Supplier Code of Conduct, they only audit a small share of their facilities.
Did we mention they are one of the only major fashion brands that has failed to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety? The agreement simply ensures safe working conditions in supplier factories; is that really too much to ask considering the company brings in over $3.4 billion dollars a year?
In addition, they use wool, leather and exotic animal hair to fashion many of their clothes. As you can imagine, all of these materials result in cruelty to animals.
As cute and affordable as their clothing may be, it might be time to rethink your purchases…
Remember, you make a difference by deciding where you spend your money! There are more sustainable brands out there, and while their clothing might cost more – who needs 300 sweaters?
SO much clothing is given away each year – most of which doesn’t end up in a new home. Instead, mass-produced clothing pollutes landfills around the world and cheap clothing is a big part of the problem.