Forever 21 has come under fire for copying an artist’s anti fashion statement to promote its collection on Instagram.
A post on the high street retailer’s India social media account showed it copied London-based artist Elizabeth Illing’s quote, showing a garment label with the text: “I probably won’t wear this dress again because it’s already on my Instagram.” When posting the picture, the company added the caption: “Now, let’s be honest here,” which critics on social media said implied the brand supported unsustainable fashion.
In a statement Forever 21 told the BBC: “We missed the mark by not reviewing the post in question before it was posted by our local franchisee’s account. We’d like to apologize for the post and recognize that it was not in good taste and promptly had it removed.”
Illing, who described herself as a creative visual communicator on The Dots, an online creative network, aims to highlight the environmental impact of fast fashion by reproducing quotes from interviews she conducted with consumers who do not shop sustainably, said the BBC.
One user commented on Forever 21’s image: “How can you promote such a post? Stop misguiding your target audience in the wrong direction just to increase your sales and profits. Reuse clothes.”
Illing told BBC News Forever 21 had missed the point she had been trying to highlight in her work. She set up Project Stop Shop as a fashion student when she started questioning her desire to work in the industry.
“When I knew how unethical it could be, I decided to use my final year project to create attention-grabbing imagery that pointed out the problem,” she said. She interviewed shoppers to find out their attitudes to buying clothes and designed clothes labels containing the most shocking quotes.
They include: “As soon as I’ve bought something, I immediately start thinking about my next purchase,” and: “If something costs less than 10 pounds, I want to buy it even if I don’t like it that much.”
Forever 21 has since removed the post from Instagram. The original post can be found on the artist’s page with Instagram handle @project_stopshop.
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I’m glad to say that my image no longer sits awkwardly on the @forever21_in Instagram page. It’s absolutely shocking that this was deemed a suitable sentiment to promote, this is really the tone a brand willingly uses to push their brand identity?? However, I do enjoy the irony that a huge fast fashion brand such as this inadvertently promoted my anti-fast fashion project! Thank you to everyone who informed me of this strange incident.