Forever21, once a lucrative fast fashion giant, is considering filing for bankruptcy in light of its decreasing popularity. Formerly considered a staple store for teenagers, the company showed signs of financial trouble as it shuttered stores in Taiwan and France and also shut down its Chinese e-commerce site. With declining in-store traffic and younger generations’ shifting shopping preferences, this impending bankruptcy is an indication of fast fashion’s unstable future.
In 2018, the fast fashion cohort boasted the highest average in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail score, relative to other categories. This year sees a different story: the average Digital IQ of the six fast fashion brands decreased by 16%. While these brands once exemplified the ability to respond quickly to trends, they’ve fallen behind a new class of digitally sophisticated disruptors. Traffic dropped considerably to Zara, H&M and Forever 21’s sites, with Forever 21 exhibiting a 26% decrease in monthly site traffic since last year. Intead, interest has shifted toward disruptive brands like Interior Define, Everlane, and M.Gemi.