New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
News >

New shop puts text in textiles

by a staff reporter

A CHAIN of fashion stores in the United States, whose signature touch is printing “John 3:16” on the underside of its fluorescent bags, has opened its first shop in London.

Forever 21, based in Los Angeles, opened to volleys of cheers from waiting teenagers and students last week. The company specialises in producing high-fashion clothes at low prices: nothing in the new store in Oxford Street is priced at more than £40. The chain describes its philo­sophy as “the first price should be the right price.”

The company is still owned and run by its founders, Don Chang and his wife, Jin Sook, who are Korean immigrants to the US. They opened their first store in Los Angeles in 1984, and have turned it into a global business of more than 500 stores, with revenues of more than $3 billion (£1.84 billion) each year.

Their daughter, Linda, was in London last week for the opening of the store. She told BBC Radio 4: “The biblical verse on the bags is a statement of our family’s personal faith. I would think of it as no dif­fer­ent than a favourite quote of someone’s.

“For us, faith is a very important component in our personal lives, and, therefore, that is something we stand for. Our personal faith is separate from the business. Forever 21 as a company, a business, is a separate en­tity from something the owners stand for; so I wouldn’t say that it neces­sarily overlaps too much.”

But Professor Jenny Harrow, of the Cass Business School, said that by printing a verse from the Bible on their bags, Forever 21 was open­ing itself and itself practices to more scrutiny. She said that the verse would be interpreted as an impera­tive for the company to love the world, too. (John 3.16 is: “For God so loved the world . . . but have ever­last­ing life.”)

“Firms should expect to be scru­tinised in terms of their wage levels, in terms of their relationship with supply chains, in terms of the ex­pectations they put on their em­ployees, and the logic is they are open to scrutiny — as is anybody who makes a declaration of faith,” she said.

Forever 21 has faced several law-suits, including one brought by garment-workers protesting at work­­ing conditions and pay; the com­pany eventually settled this out of court.

Its prospects in the UK, however, are for the moment bright. The opening of the London branch fol­lowed on the heels of one in Bir­mingham. Forever 21 plans to open three more stores in the South East in the next few months.

The company has not responded to our requests for comment.

Job of the week

Professor of Divinity

London and Home Counties

Gresham CollegeFounded 1597 Gresham Professor of Divinity Gresham College has provided free public lectures for over 400 years in the City of London and now operates worldwide via the internet. Fo...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

Finding life over death

Finding life over death

Denise Inge, who died on Easter Day this year, discovered that her home was built over a charnel house. This prompted her to write a book exploring the challenge of living well in the face of mortality  Subscribe to read more

Question of the week
Are foodbanks an effective way of dealing with poverty?

To prevent multiple voting, we now ask readers to be logged in. This is free, quick and easy, honestly. Click here to login or register

Top comment

Fighting inequality and corruption in the world

Efforts are being made to combat corruption and sharp practice in global finance. Peter Selby has seen this at first hand  Subscribe to read more

Tue 25 Nov 14 @ 13:39
Pope Francis addresses Parliament of "aged and weary" Europe - @GavinDrake reports for us from Strasbourg http://t.co/KFpO66E1Ls

Tue 25 Nov 14 @ 10:42
The number of people attending midweek services at cathedrals has doubled in the past 10 years https://t.co/JeApjBGxgb