Tuesday, July 27, 2010

OMG Forever 21- a post by Jordan Sullivan

When I was a teenager, AOL had just launched, I still used a pay phone, bitch couldn’t be said on TV, and I had to communicate properly in full sentences to those around me. LOLs, jks, thx, and ATC (all that crap) didn’t exist yet. More importantly, teen pregnancy was for the most part unthinkable. Nowadays, it’s pretty thinkable and possibly acceptable. We got movies of kids getting knocked up, TV shows like 16 and Pregnant and now a maternity line called Love 21 launched by Forever 21. Lions, tigers, and babies, oh my!
You may or may not see it as a big deal, but when their customers are primarily girls under the age of 21, it raises an eyebrow. Especially since 3 of the 5 states where the clothing line launched, Texas, Arizona, and California, have high teen pregnancy rates. Alaska and Utah were among the others in the mix and as far as I know, Sarah Palin has no comment yet. Now it could just be a coincidence, or could it?

You can’t help but call into question their marketing strategy. On one end, it’s absolutely absurd if they are targeting teenage pregnancy, but on the other end, I don’t blame Forever 21 either. Let’s face it, there is a market for it as we’ve seen many young girls with bellies not stuffed with pillows, bowling balls or balloons. And dressing them up in Betty Sue outfits from Motherhood Maternity isn’t going to make them look like an adult. They still need to look cool when they get rushed to the delivery room and post their pictures on Facebook. I have to think, if I was 16 and pregnant, I would still want to have fashionable clothing options hip enough for my age group.

Either way, lines are being crossed. For over 20 years Forever 21 attracted teenage girls. There wasn’t a gradual shift to women in their mid-twenties or thirties. So do you think the company has a targeted marketing strategy towards teenage pregnancy or do you think they are aiming to break out of the niche under 21 market to appeal more so to women and offer a trendy, inexpensive line for mothers-to-be?