Arielle Tschinkel
September 30, 2019 7:25 am

After months of speculation, Forever 21 has officially filed for bankruptcy. The brand is the latest in a long line of fashion chains to buckle amid a changing retail landscape caused by the rise of online shopping, which has left many of our favorite mall stores in the lurch.

As consumers continue to embrace online shopping and its fast (and often free) shipping, as well as a wide range of options at varying price points, it seems Forever 21 has struggled to find its footing. Bloomberg reports that the Los Angeles-based retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with plans to close “unprofitable” stores in hopes of turning business around, meaning that as of right now, not all stores will be closed.

There are about 800 Forever 21 stores in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America, and so far, we don’t yet know how many of those will close and when. Bloomberg notes that many of the chain’s international locations in Asia and Europe are slated to shutter, but those in Mexico and Latin America will remain open for now.

The bankruptcy filing is bad news for the malls in which most Forever 21 stores are large tenants, especially as brick-and-mortar shopping centers continue to struggle with the growth of online shopping.

Of course, the news has been met with mixed reactions online, thanks to Forever 21’s polarizing reputation. Fast fashion is notoriously controversial because it’s not the most sustainable (nor ethical) way to shop, with the potential for exploitation of workers and the environment to get those trendy $9.99 T-shirts into our hands.

Others joked about the brand’s target demographic, limited size options, and sometimes ridiculous designs.

Still, others were not-so-secretly excited about the chain’s upcoming liquidation sales, lamenting the loss of an accessible and affordable option for clothes and accessories.

Only time will tell what the future holds for Forever 21, but for now, we’re going to pour one out for the mall store of our high school and college wardrobes. RIP to a little piece of our youth — our thoughts are with the employees impacted by the closures, first and foremost, and we hope they are able to land on their feet elsewhere.

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