When I first heard that Forever 21 was introducing a maternity line, Love 21 Maternity, my first thought was that I wish it had happened a couple years ago so I could have shopped there while I was pregnant. I might be 35, but I find all sorts of trendy – and cheapo – duds at this teen-oriented retailer. And judging by the other customers in there born before 1990, I’m not the only one.
But now controversy is brewing, with some folks saying that cute maternity clothes on the racks amid the skinny jeans and miniskirts glamorizes teen pregnancy. It doesn’t help that among the five states that carry the line, three have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation.
Although Forever 21’s bread and butter is undoubtedly teens, they do market to more than just that demographic with their men’s and kids’ lines, and their Love 21 line seems targeted toward an older, more conservative consumer. But even if one could argue that the brand has moved beyond just being a teen retailer, could cute clothes really convince someone to get pregnant anyway? I don’t think so.
What do you think? Is Forever 21 marketing to teens, or is this just a canny move by the store to continue to expand into a new markets?