Forever 21 Brings Their Unique Brand of Fashion (and Controversy) to London

After opening operations in western Europe with retail locations in Dublin and Brimingham, fast-fashion empire Forever 21 has finally taken the plunge and opened their first London store. The location on Oxford street is gigantic and a fitting flagship for announcing the $3 billion dollar company’s arrival in the UK. For the opening last week the store was transformed into a Santa Monica beach party complete with fairground rides, tarot card reading and plenty of American fries and cheeseburgers for a list of guests that included Zoe Salmon, Alice Levine, Annie Cooper and Lydia Bright. Host Bip Ling presided over the festivities in an outfit designed to evoke 50’s Americana: high waist shorts, boyfriend cotton shirt and even an over sized bow pulling her hair into a side pony.

While it is clear that a large portion of London’s fashion junkies will be ecstatic to have such easy access to the latest in style from across the pond not everyone in the London fashion world is thrilled to have Forever 21 arrive in their city. The US retailer has been sued no less than 50 times since its founding by brands and designers such as Diane von Furstenberg, Trovata, Phillip Lim, Anna Sui and many more for breach of copyright and infringing on their creative property. In a recent interview with Jezebel Fordham University law professor Susan Scafidi offered a unique theory as to how a company with such a troubled reputation manages such steady growth, “They go ahead and they take what they want, and when they get caught, they pay up. It’s probably cheaper than licensing in the first place.”

Forever 21 creative director Linda Chang offered a different perspective in a follow up interview with The Guardian telling the paper that the company has never once settled simply because “We’re not manufacturing the goods ourselves.” She went on to point out that “On in-house designs, our influences are always stated.” Still the bad blood between many high end designers and the more affordable Forever 21 continues to rage with the most recent accusations coming from those that claim the company’s newest print is a near identical copy of one from the Feral Childe label.

Whether you love them or love to hate them one thing is for certain, Forever 21 has found a loyal and interested customer base and they have no plans of going anywhere but up.

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