Many fast-fashion companies have started having legal troubles relating to copying lesser-known designer’s work. However, one we hear about the most is Forever 21. Forever 21 has been landing itself in all sorts of trouble, from cultural appropriation to racist clothing. Amongst these scandals, the most common are accusations of copying designs.
In April 2017, New York-based jewelry designer, Sorelle NYC posted a picture of their Anja Earnings and Forever 21’s Matchstick. The almost flawless similarity of the designs implied that Forever 21 had copied the design.
In November 2017, a young designer named Sandy Liang made a post on Instagram claiming that Forever 21 had stolen at least three of her jacket designs. The jackets were made by a third party vendor that Forever 21 carries. However, Liang addressed Forever 21, and in her post, she wrote, “It’s not bad enough that you didn’t even bother to change my design even a tiny bit, you’ve made me sad about what I do…”
This time around, Forever 21 has found it’s self under scrutiny for using an image created by an anti-fast-fashion artist Elizabeth Illing, without giving credit. The now deleted image was posted on Forever 21’s Indian Instagram page on Monday, April 29th.
The image itself contained the text “Probably won’t wear this again because it’s already on my Instagram.” Though the post did have the caption “Now let’s be honest,” indicating that Forever 21 somewhat agreed with the message, it was not enough. Illing responded by stating how shocked she was that Forever 21 “would openly make light of the disposable garment culture.” Illing is dedicated to creating awareness about how drastically fast-fashion companies are negatively impacting the environment.
Because these companies produce such cheap items, customers often buy and dispose of them quickly. According to The University of Queensland, We now consume 400% more clothing than we were two decades ago. To meet this increase in demand, companies are producing much more and quickly. As a result, they are exhausting massive amounts of non-renewable resources, energy, water, and chemicals. Also, in the production of these textile and clothing items, enormous quantities of greenhouse gases are being emitted into the environment.