Shein, a China-based retail e-commerce company, is teaming up with parent company Forever 21 to expand its reach into Americans’ wardrobes. This partnership will bring together two of the biggest names in the fast fashion sector online and in malls across the country.
as part of the agreementShein could one day operate in-store stores at Forever 21 outlets, while Forever 21 clothing will be sold on Shein’s website. The transaction also includes investments by each partner in the shares of the other.
In the early 2000s, Forever 21 helped popularize fast fashion to American shoppers, popping up in malls with $5 crewneck shirts and $10 dresses hitting shelves more quickly than traditional department store tables.
Founded in 2012 and now headquartered in Singapore, Shein has gained popularity among American shoppers in recent years by taking fast fashion to the next level. The company’s technology and supply chain allow it to manufacture hundreds of new styles in weeks, providing shoppers, especially teens and young adults in their 20s, with more choices designed to suit every shift in tastes.
Known for its ultra-low prices, Shein says its app has 150 million users worldwide. I’ve also tried pop-up stores in the US before.
Shein will acquire about a third of the shares of Sparc Group, which has owned Forever 21 since the retailer emerged from bankruptcy in 2020. Sparc is a joint venture between Authentic Brands Group and shopping mall operator Simon Property Group. As part of the deal, Sparc, whose portfolio includes Brooks Brothers and Eddie Bauer, will also become a minority shareholder in Shein.
“We look forward to finding new ways to delight our customers through the potential of this partnership,” Donald Tang, CEO of Xin, said in a statement.
“Xin is a formidable force,” said Jessica Ramirez, retail analyst at Gene Haley & Co. But Forever 21 has something Shein doesn’t: a huge selection of stores. As much as you don’t want to get too brick-and-mortar, the physical locations give customers a chance to interact more meaningfully with the brand’s products, Ms. Ramirez said. Right now, Shein’s business is based on “how convenient and cheap it is and how many on-trend styles they can offer.” “.
Shin has faced criticism over how and where its products are produced, and has been accused of using forced labor and copying the work of independent designers. The company denied using forced labor and sourcing cotton from China’s Xinjiang region. The US government has banned imports from the region based on concerns about human rights abuses against the Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim group. Shein recently created a program for freelance designers where you pay them to make clothes and merchandise for the company.
And in June, Shein faced a public relations fiasco after it sent a group of influencers on a tour of some of its factories in China. Influencers faced backlash on social media after they posted that they saw no problems with working conditions in the factories, a frequent source of controversy surrounding the company.
Forever 21 has faced its own challenges. In 2019, it filed for bankruptcy and closed more than 30% of its US stores as shoppers moved away from malls. It has faced increasing competition from brick-and-mortar peers and digitally savvy competitors such as H&M, Zara, Fashion Nova, and of course, Shein.