Who owns Forever 21?

who owns forever 21

Forever 21 is a famous clothing store that sells all over the world. Known for selling accessories, homewares, cosmetics and, of course, clothing. Forever 21 is considered the epitome of what is known as the fast fashion industry due to the way clothing is made, which makes it very affordable. But do you know who owns Forever 21?

However, Forever 21 has a long history and in fact turned 38 this April. So how do you find a well-known clothing store at affordable prices? Perhaps the Chans will be able to answer this question.

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Founding Fashion 21

Before becoming known as Forever 21, it was actually known as Fashion 21. The store was founded by Do Won Chang and Jin Sook Chang, a husband and wife from South Korea. They opened on April 16, 1984. The original store lasted until 2020. In the beginning, Forever 21 served the Korean-American community and earned over $700,000 in its first year.

early years

By 2011, Forever 21 was making $124 million a year and had over a billion dollars in assets. However, the chain of stores is mired in controversy. First, the CEH, or Center for Environmental Health, found that Forever 21 was one of more than two dozen stores selling jewelry containing toxic metals.

Later, a blogger named Archer Kane created a blog called WTForever21.com. There, she posted and gave her opinion on the choice of clothes worn by Forever 21. The blog became very popular, and the store asked for the site to be removed or sued. In September 2012, a lawyer sued Forever 21, claiming that the store was “stingy”. However, the case fell out of sight, and nothing came of it.

Forever 21 soon became known for their lawsuits. Labor groups and environmentalists have filed lawsuits against the company, alleging they violated labor laws. Clothes are made in a sweatshop. This cost the store a large loss and was met with a three-year strike and numerous protests.

Over the years, Forever 21 has also had several lawsuits related to intellectual property design claims. For example, in 2015, in a Canadian family business, one of the designers noticed that their designs were used and produced by Forever 21 in droves. Even software developers have been sued for using unlicensed copies.

Around 2013, the store was known all over the world and had sales of over $3 billion. They peaked in 2015 at over $4.4 billion before declining.


By 2018, Forever 21 was suffering from strong competition that also offered fast fashion. They closed dozens of stores in other countries such as Thailand and Ireland.

Due to competition, damage to reputation, high costs, and so on, they almost fell apart. In 2019, its sales fell by 32%. The media said that the store is overstretched and does not have a proper way to deal with e-commerce competition.

In September 2019, they filed for bankruptcy. It then scaled back and ceased operations in 40 countries.

Forever 21 in the present


So who owns Forever 21? In February 2020 forever 21 sold his assets to a consortium of shopping centers. This included:

  • Simon Property Group
  • Brookfield Real Estate
  • Group of authentic brands

The store currently has over 600 stores, over 400 of which are in the US. Outside the United States, many of these stores tend to be part of a franchise. In other cases, he works with a local partner through a joint venture.

Do Won Chang

The founder of Forever 21 was an immigrant from South Korea along with his wife Jin Suk Chang. Together they had two daughters who were to become executives in the business.

Chang never went to college, so in his youth he only worked in coffee shops. Their Fashion 21 store was a small 900-square-foot store with $11,000 savings. Fortune was on their side and expanded. By 2015 they had grown to 600 stores with 30,000 employees.

The Changs are also known to be faithful Christians. Because of this, at the bottom of every Forever 21 bag is John 3:16 of the Bible. They also made donations to many religious groups and churches. Do Won himself is engaged in missionary work.


Forever 21, despite its fame among teenagers around the world, has always had skeletons in its closet. Court after lawsuit, the company did everything it could, but still went bankrupt. However, the Changs still control the company.

Now that you know who owns Forever 21, as well as some of its history, you know the clock is ticking. Shopping malls have been shrinking over the years as e-commerce has become a more popular tool. As more and more malls close, this is making the franchise a vanishing sight.

Whatever happens, a good businessman must be able to work with change. Forever 21 has suffered from e-commerce in the past. If anything, it should do its best to stay relevant while increasing its online and e-commerce presence.


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