Diet Prada is calling out fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 for reportedly ripping off Mike Pak’s Los Angeles brand, KOREATOWN.
The design for a set of tees and sweaters from Forever 21 appear to completely copy KOREATOWN’s signature varsity-style prints that see the brand emblazoned across the chest of the pieces. These merch items have recently become a cult classic for many in the AAPI community with celebrities like Margaret Cho and Bretman Rock seeing repping the brand.
Diet Prada was quick to draw comparisons, with fans chiming in to support the brand and share that KOREATOWN’s original shirts actually served a purpose since proceeds went to supporting local causes. KOREATOWN made it a point to post on their Instagram that proceeds of their Royal Blue crewneck would go to Urban Partners LA to help fund free groceries for the community of Koreatown during COVID.
KOREATOWN was also quick to share that founder Pak purposely designed the shirts to benefit KYCCLA, a youth center in LA’s Koreatown. The irony behind it is that it is not entirely unlikely for the Forever 21 knockoff to have been made by child labors in another country, as fast fashion often has “untraceable…production lines.”
Diet Prada reports that though Forever 21’s founders, Jin Sook Chang and Do Won Chang are from South Korea, the brand itself has proven to have very little to do with the Koreatown neighborhoods in LA or across the nation. Since the KOREATOWN brand gave back to the AAPI community in their own way through proceeds from sales, the brand has also taken to Instagram to ask Forever 21 to do the same.
Forever 21 has not released a statement regarding this issue yet. Take a look at KOREATOWN calling out Forever 21 below and here for Diet Prada’s Instagram post.
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