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In my last post, I wrote an open letter to Forever21 about their plus size section and what I felt was lacking in the shopping experience in their stores. Today, I received a response from their social media team (I think. There’s truly no way of knowing if it is actually Forever21, as the appropriate way to respond would have been via email). It read:
Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention – we will be looping in the right departments to make sure this situation is addressed with the store. We can assure you that this is not an accurate representation of our brand’s visual merchandising and view of any of our customers. We are investing greatly in our Plus Size Collection this year and are always trying to improve the assortment and merchandising. In fact, we just launched our Plus Active collection and noticed that you wrote about it in your “Where to Shop Plus Size Activewear” article – thank you! We are also excited to announce that we have launched a @Forever21Plus Instagram profile to bring our most amazing content and new arrivals front and center. Thank you so much for your feedback and we genuinely appreciate you as our customer.
So here’s the deal, I actually appreciate this response, it’s just not effective. And it’s the kind of “shhhh, that’s not really what’s going on” kind of response that myself and others get from plus size companies all too often. I am certain this isn’t the first that Forever 21 has heard of these problems and concerns, because… well just look at all the comments on the open letter. People are all too familiar with the store’s practices and it seems that our voices are not often acknowledged.
What do we do next? Well, we keep talking about it. We keep writing to them and expressing how alienating and hurtful this kind of treatment is. We follow the instagram that they mentioned, and let them know when things aren’t going well, and demand they carry plus sizes in their stores. All of their damn stores.
I want to believe that companies care about their consumers. I really do. I want to give them an opportunity to prove it. Let’s make that happen.
ps- It’s pretty amazing that we all came together to share that post. So often people like to say that internet activism is in vain, and it’s important to acknowledge that your words, your participation, matters. A lot. Thank you all so much!