Wednesday, July 24, 2024

A new dawn for fast fashion? Forever21 and Shein join forces

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The controversial brands have signed a deal meaning both are likely to be even more popular, amidst climate change criticsm.


Two giants of the fast fashion world have announced a “strategic partnership”, striking fear into the hearts of climate warriors.

Shein and Forever21 are set to team up, with Shein acquiring one-third interest in Sparc Group, which owns Forever21.

In turn, Sparc Group will become a minority shareholder in Shein.

In a press release, the garment behemoths say the deal will allow each retailer to test out new approaches to sales.

Based in China, Shein has long aimed to expand its reach in the United States. Forever21 has its headquarters in the States and will make some of its merchandise on Shein’s hugely popular website, aiming to attract a wider audience across the globe.

Shein has remained a mostly online brand, but is seeking to follow on from a number of pop ups and create more of an in-person presence.

In contrast, Forever21 has more than 540 physical locations worldwide but less of an impact, relatively, on the web.

While the American brand has a higher price point than its Chinese counterpart, there are concerns that the new relationship might cause consumer costs to go even lower.

There has been a long battle against the fast fashion industry, including from the European Union. Critics say the low prices offered by these companies make clothing disposable which contributes to the ongoing climate crisis.

Shein, which releases an average of 1,000 new pieces every day, has come under fire in particular, thanks to reportedly flouting labour laws and their negative impact on the environment. 

Forever21 has faced a great deal of criticism for the latter, too.

These concerns haven’t stopped consumers though. Shein has claimed its app has managed to reach a staggering 150 million users and reported profits of $23 billion – or around €21b – in 2022.

That same year, Forever 21’s revenue peaked at $4 billion (or €3.7b), just two years after it was bought out of bankruptcy.

Their partnership with Shein follows a similar move by Skechers earlier this year. In June, the shoe brand joined Shein’s recently-launched marketplace, which allows shoppers to buy pieces from third-party sellers on the website.

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