Forever 21 has finally arrived to the UK and Ireland! The first European store opened in Birmingham, UK on November 12 and the second store opened one day later in Dublin, Ireland.
As you guys know, I have been incredibly excited for Forever 21 to finally reach our shores. I even applied for a job there. Well, my Forever 21 "career" has come to an end. I'm 100% happy with my decision. I don't want this to become a "why you should avoid working for Forever 21" post, so I will just say that I was unhappy with many things as were at least 10 other employees I spoke to. Anyways, moving on.
The Dublin store which is located in the Jervis Shopping Centre is the European flagship store and approx 69,000 sq ft. It is spread out over 3 levels and stocks all of the Forever 21 brands (Kids, HT81, Forever 21 plus, etc)
(Forever 21 opening day - model Amber Le Bon and Do Won (Don) Chang, CEO open the Dublin store. Picture credit - Jervis)
The store is incredibly big, 3 floors stocked full of the latest Forever 21 fashions so you will find something to suit everyone.. except anyone who is over a size UK 12 or male.
The mens section is laughable, as is the "plus size" section. Given that the store is quite large I expected a decent Forever 21+ (previously Faith 21) section but instead we have a rather small range consisting of a few pairs of jeans and knit sweaters. Don't even get me started on the fact that the "plus sizes" begin at UK 12. I'm sorry but I do not think that someone who is a size 12 should be shopping in a plus sized section.
New Look recently opened their biggest store (in the world!) in the unit next to Forever 21 and I have to say that although it is half the size of Forever 21 (and incredibly cramped) I prefer it. They don't class anyone under a size 18 UK as plus sized and their huge Inspire collection for plus sized gals goes up to size 26!
If you live outside of Ireland or the UK then don't worry because they have also launched a European website! (www.forever21.eu)
The website has plenty to choose from but again the plus size section is boring. There is a total of 9 items, all jeans and knit sweaters. Can't big (European) girls be fashionable too?
Unlike the regular Forever 21 line, it seems like they have mostly switched the currency sign for the plus sized line. This love & lace tee will cost you £14.80 but buying it in the USA would cost you $14.80 - meaning it's almost $10 extra to buy in the UK! I understand there are import/vat costs but not enough to justify THAT much of an increase. This cable knit extended cardigan will cost £28.80 of your hard earned money, but would cost just $29.80 to buy it Stateside, which converts to $45.73 at todays exchange rate.
I am sure that they will still do well in the Irish market, where stores like Topshop and their ridiculous Euro exchange rate dominate the high street but overall I am not impressed with the Forever 21 store OR the European website. I will not be going out of my way to shop in store. I will still shop from F21 online, but from the USA web-store instead. Not only will it work out cheaper including taxes and shipping, I will also have a much wider and nicer selection of clothes to pick from.