The Korean American-run apparel juggernaut Forever 21 is flexing its muscle towards fashion blogger Rachel Kane of WTForever21.com, citing copyright infringement and other legal goodies, according to a story by Time.com.
WTForever21 is a no-holds-barred blog bristling with F-bombs and snarky commentary on Forever 21’s fashion missteps. The posts bash products that Kane finds ridiculous and often end with the phrase: ‘Forever 21, WTF?’ In describing Fashion 21’s ‘Loop Yarn Sweater Vest’ ($17.99), for example, Kane writes, ‘Guacamole and vomit stains will blend right the eff into this doodoo colored thing.’
In the letter, the company does take into account Kane’s support of the stores, noting that they value both Kane’s ‘indicated patronage’ and respect ‘one’s right to express his/her opinion.’ But Forever 21 is going to sue her anyway, unless she deletes her site before June 10.
Apparently Kane rallied the online troops, calling in her chits at The Consumerist, and provided her own take on the matter. In her letter to the consumer advocate Web site, Kane calls the company who makes “day glow pink panties” a humorless bunch.
I have responded via my attorney disputing the accusations in hopes that I could continue freely poking fun at bubble shorts and rosettes, but as of yesterday, June 2, Forever 21 has responded with a firm threat to file suit unless I take down the blog. I have until June 10 to decide.
Popular women’s blog Jezebel obtained a copy of the cease-and-desist letter, declaring that this was not a fair legal fight. Duh.
Forever 21 has the resources to make any court case unpleasant and protracted. Forever 21 has spread around the world (and made its owners, Do Won Chang and Jin Sook, extroardinarily wealthy) amid concerns over labor violations and many instances of Forever 21’s theft of other designers’ intellectual property. (The company has settled numerous lawsuits stemming from its copyright violations; a documentary, Made in L.A., covers one of the company’s legal tussles with its workers, to whom it paid illegally low wages. In January, a reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek visited a Los Angeles area sweat shop and found garment workers sewing Forever 21 vests for twelve cents apiece. If a worker finished 66 vests in an hour, she would make minimum wage.)
The legal bitch-slapping prompted other well-known online media sites to jump on the bandwagon, with the Village Voice and New York magazine, among others, jumping into the fray with their own takes on the situation.