The Fashion 21 chain of retail stores, popular with teens and twenty-somethings because its merchandise is stylish, sexy and cheap, is moving in a new direction.Â The belly bump.Â Outlets in five states will begin carrying maternity clothes, under the label, Love 21.Â
The new line debuts in California, the storeâ€™s home base, and in Arizona, Texas, Alaska and Utah.Â Utah?Â Yes, Utah.Â Critics have been quick to notice that the first three states have teen pregnancy levels well above average.Â As for the other two, who has a clue?Â Maybe Fashion 21 knows something we donâ€™t.Â Their average customer age is probably over 21, anyway.Â These slightly more mature shoppers say give bad-mouthing a rest.Â They, according to Momotics, have a right to buy what they like, where they like.Â
No word is out yet why the chain has made this move, which is likely to upset mothers of teen buyers across the western half of the country, but this store is good at offering the customer what she wants.Â The recentÂ Twelve by Twelve line, for instance, promises clothes that are â€œat once classic and daring, and completely covetable.â€Â Thatâ€™s right off the website.Â A few look straight off the streets!Â Not on my daughter!Â Fortunately, sheâ€™s too young, but little fashionistas grow up quickly.Â Â
Back to the maternity clothes.Â Didnâ€™t these used to be aimed at grown women?Â Not teenaged girls?Â Or are they the next logical step to skin-tight tees and frayed-out denim?Â Is pregnancy a condition they want customers to covet?Â Â
The Fashion 21 line was started by a Korean-Californian couple, aimed at Korean-Americans, but the breezy, high style took off, with sales soaring in year one to $700,000.Â Before long, stores, which called themselves Forever 21, sprang up all over the U.S. and the near and far east including Japanâ€”more known for its love of upscale shopsâ€”and this year the chain plans to open several stores in Europe.Â We know they have style, because designers from Diane von Furstenberg to Gwen Stefani and Anna Sui have filed lawsuits over design infringement.Â Â
Fashion 21 knows what the modern young woman wants.Â Apparently they think Love 21 is the next hot thing.Â â€œStand out in the crowdâ€Â their advertising blog, The Skinny, says.Â Nothing like pregnancy to accomplish that!
Image via Forever21.comÂ