Forever 21 CEO: We Don’t Have Designs on Pregnant Teens

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Fashion retailer Forever 21’s debut collection of maternity wear, Love 21, has some concerned that the brand is targeting (and thus condoning) pregnant teenagers.

Love 21 is now available in a select locations in Arizona, Alaska, California, Utah and Texas, which also happen to be the U.S. states with the highest rates of teen pregnancy, according to a January 2010 report from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

Forever 21 EVP Larry Meyer responded: “Forever 21 did not create, design or distribute Love 21 Maternity to target, or appeal specifically to pregnant teens. Any relationship between teen pregnancy rates and the locations of our stores is unintentional.”

While the “21” in the maternity collection’s name echoes the parent brand, the flap also begs the question: so what if Love 21 appeals to moms-to-be of all ages? Don’t teens deserve fashionable maternity wear, too?[more]

Take it from us: Staying fashionable while pregnant tends to increase the budget in tandem with the belly size, so Love 21’s $8.80 cropped leggings and $19.80 cardigans would be welcomed by any mom-to-be.

Controversy is nothing new for the brand, which was founded in 1984 by Don Chang, a South Korean immigrant. It has a track record of fashion designers balking at its copycat designs, prompting lawsuits from the likes of Anna Sui and Balenciaga.

Chang’s original retail moniker of Fashion 21 changed to Forever 21 when its range of trendy, moderately-priced clothes won favor with customers under 21, although it has expanded beyond teen apparel in recent years.

Today, the retail chain bills itself as affordable, one-stop shopping for all, with men, kids and women’s apparel sections, where high school and college-age shoppers can be found browsing the racks next to career women and moms.

Do you buy Forever 21’s side of this debate, or even care? Let us know with a comment below.

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