Shopping: Forever 21? No Thanks.

I’ve decided to ditch my Tumblr blog and transfer it over to this one so I can share all my ramblings in one place (what lucky readers you are!). I’m going to write later about some purchases I made yesterday but in the meantime, this is my post from a couple of weeks ago about my thoughts on the new Forever 21 store recently opened in Oxford St:

Forever 21? No thanks.

Maybe the clue was in the name, but this 22 year old was not impressed with the new Forever 21 store on Oxford Street.

I love the online store, there appears to be a huge variety of clothes and accessories all at a price set somewhere between Primark and H&M. I was always a little miffed at why this huge American high street name had set up shop in Birmingham, but not in London, and now I know why. It wasn’t good enough.

Now obviously Oxford Street is always horrendously busy (and I work on it, so have to deal with it every day), and I knew that the shop would be rammed and this wasn’t a problem. I just put it in my mental checklist of places to never go on a lunchtime/weekend/national holiday which also includes Primark, Selfridges and Topshop. But the masses of people were not helped by the frankly ridiculous layout of the place. What were the designers thinking?! It was like being a Borrower in a laundry basket. I couldn’t tell where I’d been, where I should go next, or if I’d missed something out. Random walkways and islands of clothes were just plonked willy nilly all over the place, and considering this place is half the size of a lot of other West End flagships they should have been more careful.

As is customary with most ‘young’ stores (and I hate using that phrase because I’m young in the grand scheme of….time, I guess), the music was deafening, which only encouraged the screeches of the kids on their summer holidays and made it impossible to hear the replies of the clearly overwhelmed, unenthusiastic and mediocre staff. But the staff were plenty I have to say. When I could hear myself think over the pounding rendition of Rock Lobster (yes, that’s the one Peter Griffin sings in Family Guy. Apparently this is what the customers of F21 are listening to these days), they were pleasant enough and helped me as best they could.

But they couldn’t help me that much, as everything appeared to be ‘out of stock’. There was a severe lack of sizes, no help as to what European size I would even be looking for anyway (because the UK standards of 8/10/12 etc were nowhere to be seen), and seemingly everything that I wanted was unavailable. I find this incredible. Either the staff have been told to do the age old line of ‘We have everything out on the shelves’, or somebody has ordered really badly. After all, they’ve only been open 2 days!

I did however find a couple of things to try on, and I proceeded to one of the fitting room sections in the Basement level. You would never have guessed that this level was underground was it for the actual changing rooms themselves. Now I’m almost 5ft 10, so yes I’m above average height, but there are many girls (including one who was in front of me in the queue) that are taller. A word of warning to them: try a fitting room on a different level. I lifted my arms in the air to put a top on and accidentally punched the ceiling which was only a few inches above me!

Forever 21 tries too hard to exude an aura of youth, of cool and of ‘now’. And maybe I’m just not any of those things, but there are plenty of people who are, and they will ultimately make the store a huge success regardless of criticisms.