Forever 21 Settles Dispute With Garment Workers

Times Staff Writer

Garment workers who claimed they labored in sweatshops making clothes for Forever 21 Inc. have settled with the retailer, both sides said Tuesday.

The settlement, which involved 33 workers, marks the end of a nationwide boycott against Los Angeles-based Forever 21, according to the Garment Worker Center and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California, which represented the workers.

Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed. Christina Chung, an attorney with the legal center, declined to say whether it involved any money.


“Forever 21 has stated that, as a company, it is committed to making sure the clothes it sells are made under lawful conditions,” she said. “We believe for a retailer to say that is significant.”

Larry Meyer, Forever 21’s chief financial officer, said the company looked forward to working with advocates “to improve working conditions in L.A.” The retailer admitted to no wrongdoing. Meyer declined to comment further.

The settlement also resolves a defamation suit Forever 21 filed in March 2002 against the Garment Worker Center and other groups, both sides said. The retailer had claimed it was unfairly targeted in a “vicious” public campaign.

The workers filed suit in 2001, saying they were denied lawful wages and exposed to dangerous work conditions. They claimed they sewed, ironed or packed Forever 21 clothing six days a week, sometimes 12 hours a day, for far less than minimum wage.

For more than three years, worker advocates rallied student groups and consumers, urging them not to shop at Forever 21. Chung said that effort had now ended.