Forever 21

What to buy for Summer/Fall 2009 : the eighties look

Whether we like it or not, the eighties are back this summer – bringing chunky bracelets, oversized ballet tops, and bright hued dresses with it. However there’s a bright note – at least stone-washed jeans were left back in the “me” decade.

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And leading this trend is Forever 21, which has become a real success story, growing from a single 900-foot store in downtown LA to over 400 locations worldwide. The secret behind the store’s popularity has been its ability to quickly imitate haute couture fashion and sell it for a fraction of the runway price.

But some are not so happy: Diane von Furstenberg has filed a lawsuit against them. But the problem is, while logos and labels are protected by trademark law, the designs of garments are not, because clothing is a “useful article”, a class of items that falls in the jurisdiction of patents and not copyrights. We hope they lose, because if you eliminate the freedom to imitate, you eliminate successful businesses like Forever 21 and with it the driving force behind many of today’s fashion trends.