Forever 21 Closing Soon? Here's Where To Shop Next | Clozette


Last week, fashion enthusiasts all over the world were shocked by the news that Forever 21 may be filing for bankruptcy soon. Established in 1984, the brand has been one of the biggest names in fast-fashion for most of its run, with 600 stores in the U.S. alone. On the flip side, it also had its share of controversies regarding copyright lawsuits from individual artists over the years, some causing blows to the brand's profitability and reputation. Still, these infringements weren't the cause of the fashion retailer's potential closing; with the emergence of other international competitors, as well as indie brands thriving in the fashion scene, Forever 21 has been in the wake of underperforming and unprofitable stores, submerging the fashion chain into debt. 



So you might be thinking, "what now?" While Forever 21 still hasn't commented on the matter, making the entire ordeal not finalised, it's safe to say that finding for new shopping destinations may be a great option to ensure your wardrobe is always freshly stocked. Whether you're a 'must-feel, must-fit' type of shopper or an online add-to-cart type of gal, we've got just the shopping alternatives for you. 


Fast-fashion outlets


Starting with our no-brainer option, of course we can't discount Forever 21's direct competitors. Japanese brand Uniqlo has been a massive favourite for quite some time now, earning its rightful place as the go-to for chic basics and other minimalist fashion pieces. 



When it comes to variety, from officewear to date night to casual ensembles, H&M is also another viable option. Plus, if we backtrack a bit from when sustainable wasn't considered 'cool' yet, H&M was already very transparent with their stride to push for sustainability despite the technological strains at the time. The Swedish fashion retailer was also among the most vocal regarding going green, where others like Forever 21 simply followed suit.



Many also swear by H&M more than Forever 21 in terms of durability and value-for-money, despite being within similar price-points. 


Interesting indie or homegrown fashion brands


Gone are the days when independent or homegrown fashion brands are considered to be at a lower-tier than established names in the industry. Now, local fashion is all the rage, not just due to showing support for indie designers and artists, but also because of their tried-and-tested qualities and visual-appeal value. So with the possibility of Forever 21 saying goodbye for good, why not check out these brands from Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines that are not only proudly and stylishly created in the respective countries but are also worth the pride for hailing sustainability.




Online alternatives for avid add-to-carters


Lastly, while it's still not clear whether Forever 21 would retain or re-brand their online platform once they close down their physical stores, girls who love to browse their way into shopping should also be presented with other options.



ASOS, for one, is unbeatable in this realm given its global accessibility, being one of the closest in aesthetic offerings to Forever 21. In Southeast Asia, ZALORA is particularly strong, with its wide range of brands, as well as tried-and-tested business-to-consumer system. And who could forget Pomelo as another great online destination for shopping, priding itself as 'fashion born in Asia' in all its flair, accessibility, and affordability. Stylenanda also boomed in popularity due to the rise of K-fashion, making it another suitable choice as an alternative to Forever 21's myriad of collections. 



But aside from these already well-established names, there are more online alternatives out there that you can turn to (besides shady sites like Wish and Missguided, mind you). Mixxmix offers cool and edgy pieces that are majorly inspired by K-pop fashion; Shanghai-based Front Row Shop delivers cool-girl aesthetic to the next level with their crisp and sleek pieces; and Zilingo, which just recently launched in the Philippines, is also a great new shopping destination whether you're in for casual pieces or select designer goods.


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Whether you're someone who likes accessory or not, it's undeniable that the addition of a dainty, sparkling piece has the potential to brighten up your ensemble. Be it an adorable necklace, earrings or wristband, it gives a nice finishing touch to your OOTD. Let these Clozetters show some ways you can adorn yourself with the help of a little "bling".


Bling Rings


Bling Rings
(Photo from: sparksofjoyce)


Sparkling Studs


Sparkling Studs
(Photo from: sabrinamarican)


Dash of Gold


Dash of Gold
(Photo from: fifiliciousify)


Shiny Big Letters


Shiny Big Letters
(Photo from: RUTHJAELJIMENEZ)



Simple and Sophisticated


Simple and Sophisticated
Simple and Sophisticated
Simple and Sophisticated
(Photo from: shiennareynon)


(Cover photo from: shiennareynon)


Join the Fanny Pack squad next for an edgier outlook.

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In the Philippines, we call the month of August Buwan ng Wika or the Month of Language, as a way to appreciate our rich culture and heritage. Aside from commemorating the numerous languages spoken in the country, we’ve all spent our school days celebrating the month by feasting on local delicacies and wearing traditional Filipino clothes for a day. But these festivities remain only in our schools, and as adults, it’s rare that such events are observed. We forget that our heritage can be celebrated in simple ways every day, and even beyond the month of August. We say instead of wearing elaborate and stuffy traditional wear, opt to switch up your daily look by incorporating pieces from Filipino fashion brands. 


Nowadays, tons of local brands are popping up, offering one-of-a-kind sartorial choices to complete your ensemble. Even better is that a lot of these Filipino fashion brands are now finding interesting ways to incorporate our unique culture with modern designs. Brands like Talasalitaan PH, Stride Collective, and Linea Etnika are just some of those that do this wonderfully. Read on to discover how these homegrown brands proudly champion our heritage.


Talasalitaan PH


A sad fact is that because of centuries of colonisation and globalisation, not much attention is given to the native languages in the country. Theatre enthusiasts Berna Sastrillo and Pat Dacanay hopes to do something about that with Talasalitaan PH. This clothing brand that just launched last March offers something unique by incorporating language into fashion pieces to create awareness and hopefully spark discussion about Filipino culture. As fans of brands like Artwork and Tee Culture that offer clothes with funny puns and interesting phrases, the two thought there’s no better way to draw attention to the languages than by having them on a good statement tee. 



Talasalitaan PH’s designs are simple, making them versatile basics that can perfectly complement any outfit. Berna and Pat usually come up with phrases that resonate to young and adult Filipinos, write them in different Filipino languages or native scripts, and have them printed on the tees. So far, their first two collections have featured seven languages from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, along with the native Baybayin script. However, there’s a long way to go as the two hope to feature all 130 languages in the Philippines and other native scripts that are still being used by indigenous groups in the country. 




Since the language spoken by Pat and Berna are limited, their product development process is quite research-heavy. They consult with language experts to ensure the accuracy of the translations of the phrases they want to print.  Embarking on Talasalitaan PH has been a tough yet exciting journey for the two, and they can’t wait to expand their t-shirt line into other clothing pieces like totes, jackets, and so on in the future.



Stride Collective


Ask any Filipino where to find locally made high-quality shoes and they’ll all point you to Marikina, the shoe capital of the Philippines. But if you’re looking for a pair that’s completely unique, then Stride Collective’s shoes are what you should check out. Stride Collective isn’t just a brand, it’s a community of 18 shoe-entrepreneurs helping and supporting one another. You’d think it would be counter-productive to collaborate with your competitors, but Stride makes it work with their distinctly flavoured designs — all proudly locally made in Marikina. 


Members of Stride Collective-- one of the up and coming Filipino Fashion Brands

Tal De Guzman of Risqué and Yen Reyes of Artisach, co-founding members of Stride Collective, an up-and-coming Filipino fashion brand.



It all started with Tal De Guzman’s Risqué Manufacturing Designs, which manufactured pairs for other entrepreneurs starting their shoe business. She wanted to create a formal community with a number of brand owners she worked with, and thus, Stride Collective was born. Though all of their pairs are manufactured by dedicated shoemakers of Risqué Manufacturing, the pairs designed by each brand reflects their owners' distinct tastes. Yen Reyes of Artisach, for one, makes art wearable by combining her love for painting and leather crafting in the pairs she designs. Other Stride brands like Risqué, Hola Lili, Design & Style, Habi Footwear, and more make use of native textiles in the footwear they design. They also have brands like INNÉ that try to incorporate local materials like abaca and rattan into modern designs.


Shoes of Stride Collective

A display of products in Stride Collective's Marikina concept store


Stride Collective pushes the boundaries to create something refreshingly distinct from pairs you’d get from the malls. All of this is done ethically. Brands that use local weaves consult the communities where they source their textiles from, making sure that it isn’t disrespectful to use these for footwear. They’ve formed a collaborative relationship with the shoemakers that craft their designs, constantly learning from their inputs on manufacturing along the way. While some brands in the community produce bags and accessories once in a while, for now, Stride Collective as a whole plans to focus on footwear. And through their newly opened concept store in Marikina, they will hopefully help in driving tourism in the city by offering footwear that people can discover only there.




Linea Etnika


Last but not least, Linea Etnika attempts to bring awareness to indigenous culture by incorporating their weaves into chic, modern wear. Classic and sleek silhouettes are made distinctly Filipino by the weaving in of colourful textiles in their designs. Like two of the aforementioned Filipino fashion brands, this clothing brand was born out of friendship and camaraderie. Joy Belmonte and Looie Lobregat first crossed paths through the Congressional Spouses Foundation, Inc. (CSFI) as they represented their Congressmen fathers in the organisation. The two immediately bonded, and while shopping for souvenirs in a cultural immersion trip organised by CSFI, the idea of starting Linea Etnika sparked.



The two weren’t experts in fashion — Joy has a background in teaching archaeology and is now working in public office, while Looie has had a career in banking before choosing to be a homemaker. But because they have always been invited to formal events requiring Filipiniana (traditional Filipino clothing), the two were inspired to make a fashion brand that makes dressing up for these events a breeze. 



But more than creating fashionable clothes, the duo wanted to create a brand that could help local communities. Initially, they focused on weaves from Mindanao, particularly the Yakan and Tausug weaves from Zamboanga, Looie’s hometown. But recently, they’ve started experimenting with other textiles from the Visayas region. Aside from these indigenous communities, Linea Etnika enlisted the help of communities in Payatas, Quezon City to sew their packaging. 



Because weaving the textiles they use for their clothing takes time, Linea Etnika only produces pieces in limited quantity. Still, they gladly accept made-to-order requests in case the piece the customer wants is sold out. But these are all just a start for Linea Etnika. Having only been established in 2016, the brand hopes to help more communities and create a future for weaving traditions through their versatile clothing. 



Next, shop guilt-free from these sustainable Filipino fashion brands.

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