Friday, February 28, 2014

Forever 21 vs. Noonday Collection {{GIVEAWAY}}

WARNING:
This post might make you fired up.
This post might make you mad at me and mad at your favorite store.
This post might ruin your life.

Over the past year and a half, I've revolutionized my shopping by utilizing my purchasing power at second-hand stores, Insta-sales (Instagram shops that support various ministries and adoptions by selling lightly used clothing), and a number of online retailers that abide by fair trade principles.  

The other thing I've done is AVOID shopping at certain retailers because of their labor practices. Where I spend my money communicates my values to the marketplace.  I cast a vote for worker's rights with every dollar I spend.
  
Here's where I might make you really mad.  But it's ok.  I've been known to ruin my friend's lives (in regards to their shopping habits) and I'm ok with it.  After all, you know what they say: #sorrynotsorry

*deep breath*

Forever 21 is one of the worst places you can shop.

On a grading scale from A (the best) to F (the worst), they consistently received a "D" grade on:
  • worker rights
  • traceability
  • monitoring
  • use of excessive overtime
  • they don't guarantee their workers a living wage, or even a local minimum wage (which is rarely enough to actually live on)  
  • they have not taken steps toward responsible purchasing, even though they have a code against child labor and forced labor.
I wish I was making this up, but I'm not.

The Huffington Post, in their sweatshop investigation, explores "how the leggings you just bought [from Forever 21] may have more problems than just an excess of sequins." 

The US Department of Labor revealed evidence of significant labor violations:
"Since 2008, our investigators have identified dozens of manufacturers producing goods for Forever 21 under sweatshop-like conditions," said Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator for the division in the West.  "When companies like Forever 21 refuse to comply with subpoenas, they demonstrate a clear disregard for the law, and the Labor Department will use all enforcement tools available to recover workers' wages and hold employers accountable." (read more)
If you need even more convincing, here are some additional articles:



One of the most unfortunate things about Forever 21 is that they print John 3:16 on the bottom of all their shopping bags without any regard to God's love for the world.  Last time I checked, the "world" refers to ALL people, from every tribe, nation and tongue, from every economic status, with every job title.  

The "world" means those living and working in desperate, horrific conditions like Forever 21's cotton growers, cotton pickers, fabric dyers and garment sewers... those exploited by the company's cheap and fast fashion.

Until they make drastic changes to how they source their products and treat their workers, I will not set foot in their store.  (I recently had a nightmare where I was stuck inside of one.  Yikes.)  

 


One of the biggest red flags about Forever 21 (and other retailers with similar labor practices) is how low their prices are.  Think about it: if an accessory costs less than $4 (for example), someone in the supply chain isn't getting paid appropriately (or at all).  Considering Forever 21 has a net income of $135 MILLION, one would hope they would invest a little more money into the humane treatment of their workers all over the world today.

Yes, Noonday Collection is more expensive than Forever 21.  Things have to cost more to ensure dignity and sustainability among our artisans.  Consider the real expense when you find a bargain.

Everything at Noonday Collection is handmade.  NO factories are involved in producing any of our products.  All our workers are ensured a living wage.  (Often times this is higher than minimum wage.)  And everything is made with love by people working their way out of poverty.  Entire communities and families are being transformed.  Nearly 9,000 family members are impacted.

Dominique at the Let's Be Fair blog compares popular retailers like Anthropology and Urban Outfitters with their fair trade counterparts.  I love this concept so much that I did my own comparison with some of Forever 21's products.

Because human lives are worth the price difference.  Click the links below to see for yourself.

Forever 21's Out at Sea scarf vs. Noonday's Beachcomber scarf












Forever 21's V-Shape Drop Earrings vs. Noonday's Geo Drop Earrings


Forever 21's Dangling Triangle Earrings vs. Noonday's Renegade Earrings


Curious how your favorite retailer measures up?  
Look them up on Not For Sale's "Free to Work" website.  Their article, Apparel Industry Trends: From Farm to Factory, "ranks 300 apparel brands on their efforts to address child and forced labor in their supply chains.  It provides a picture of the practices of industry leaders, and calls out brands that fuel modern slavery through their negligence."

And now for today's GIVEAWAY... a $50 gift card for you to spend on the Noonday item of your choice!

Enter yesterday's giveaway from Tesney, a hero in the adoption world and the fiercest adoptive mama I know, and hop over to Mandy's inspiring post and giveaway tomorrow!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



68 comments:

emily said...

You raise very interesting points. It is very good food for thought.

MindySue said...

My favorite Noonday piece so far is the Falling Mukisa Necklace. It is just so dang beautiful!

Erica said...

wonderful post, Elizabeth -thanks for writing it. I shared it on my facebook page :)

natalie said...

this is great! thanks for sharing your heart. I'd love to get some amethyst jewelry. thoughts?

paige said...

awesome post & i'm embarassed to tell you ...i had no idea about forever 21

Carrie said...

All my Noonday purchases are my favorite fair trade goodies! My first spring line purchases were the Galaxy Wrap bracelet and Clustered Bamboo Wrap. Not that I shop at Forever 21, but so appreciate you sharing your knowledge. I've become a big-time second-hand shopper because of my awareness through Noonday.

Laurajane said...

I love this post! The comparisons with Forever 21 are spot on. I haven't set foot in a Forever 21 in at least 4 years so I had no idea what any of the items in the store look like, but I'm really surprised to see how they compare to Noonday pieces. And of course you can just see how much better quality the Noonday items are.

MindySue said...

I hope I'm commenting in the right place to enter. I think that these two are rather similar in style, though I admit that the Noonday version is more colorful. The first is from the horrific Abercrombie & Fitch clothing/accessory company. It is the Beautiful Shine Necklace. http://www.abercrombie.com/shop/us/womens-jewelry-accessories/beautiful-shine-necklace-1150189_01

And the second is from ever ethical Noonday: Bling Collar Necklace http://www.noondaycollection.com/necklaces

BOTH are cute. Only one let's you sleep at night!

Kirsten McCormick said...

Love you El! Thanks for always pushing us to think and act differently!

Amy Buboltz said...

I just discovered Noonday recently....I am super excited for my purchases to arrive!

Anonymous said...

Great post! I would love to find a beaded clutch like the gorgeous multi-colored ones at Anthropology right now.

Lorna said...

Thanks for the great information! I try to avoid mall stores and instead like to shop thrift stores and estate sales. I am learning soo much from all of the amazing bloggers participating on the blog train. I can't wait to explore our topic further. Thanks again!

Mindy said...

Interesting information. I never shopped Forever 21 before, but sure won't in the future, either!

Danielle said...

My Favorite fair trade purchase to date has been from Free Set. I really like their bags and support their ministry of helping women leave the trade.

kdb said...

I've recently been introduced to Noonday and I love their jewelry and what they stand for!

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, this is a fantastic post! I loved the side by side comparisons of Noonday to F21, didn't realize how on trend everything really is! -Nicole

Nicole said...

Elizabeth, this is a fantastic post! I loved the side by side comparisons of Noonday to F21, didn't realize how on trend everything really is! -Nicole

Erin said...

Love my ssekos, love my Mighty River Project items.

Lindsay said...

I love my collection of Noonday accessories and have been more purposeful on purchasing clothing second hand. With a tight single income budget we don't always have the extra money to purchase brand new fair trade items but instead of searching for a bargain at Forever 21, I now have fun searching through thrift stores :-)

Jenn said...

non ethically made
http://www.ae.com/web/browse/product.jsp?catId=cat6600111&productId=0419_3028_109&cid=AEO_CSE_K2776&mr:referralID=82887a1a-a0e9-11e3-9f1f-001b2166becc

and my fave, ethically made
http://www.solerebels.com/collections/tootoos/products/tootoos-supah-flex

Delaina said...

Great blog! I stopped shopping at Forever 21 a couple years back when I found out about all of this! It makes me sick that I ever shopped there!

Unknown said...
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Jillian said...

I've been happy with all of my Noonday purchases. My favorite? Water Drop Prism Earrings! They're sparkly, beautiful, go with everything, and I know my purchase made a difference. 
http://www.noondaycollection.com/earrings/water-drop-prism-earrings

Bethany said...

Great post. Thanks for the information and websites. Love Noonday

Jillian said...

Silver drop earrings comparison

Noonday Version:
http://www.noondaycollection.com/earrings/water-drop-prism-earrings

Forever 21 Version:
http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?BR=f21&Category=acc_jewelry-earrings-drop&ProductID=1031557215&VariantID=

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this information, Elizabeth. This is something I need to pass on to my female high school students - tons of them shop at Forever 21.

Anna Peregoy said...

Great information. Never shopped there before but now I won't got sure.

Britni D'Eliso said...

Love your resources! I try my hardest to shop fair trade for most intentional gift-giving occasions (i.e. Christmas and birthdays).
Thanks El!

Angela Hunt said...

One of my very favorite fair trade purchases is my pair of SoleRebels from Ethiopia. They are SO comfortable and I love wearing them!

Leigh said...

Love all my noonday accessories and also love my Tukula items! My mom just ordered me a Better Life Bag and I can't wait to get it!!!

Momster Amanda said...

My favorite fair trade purchase is every gift I've given someone else. Purchasing fair trade gifts is always so exciting to me, because it's such a unique way to advocate.

Lindsay said...

I have been wanting to look for a pretty wind chime for our home. Here is one that caught my eye at Target: http://www.target.com/p/waterfall-glass-wind-chime/-/A-15055904#prodSlot=medium_1_6&term=wind%20chime Now here is a similar style that is fair trade and hand-made in Bali: https://www.connectedgoods.com/Fair-Trade-Products/Fair-Trade-Handmade-Wind-Chimes-Fiesta.html Buying fair trade might take a bit more of your time but each piece has such a great story behind it!

Lydia Burgess said...

Thank you for the post! It is both informative and challenging. Awareness isn't always comfortable, but it is important.

seeyoulighter-- SHAWNA said...

I was amazed by your post. I don't shop at that store but never knew how they ran things. Thanks for the eye opener .

Momster Amanda said...

Shopping comparison:
Forever 21 Floral Maxi dress
http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?BR=f21&Category=dress_maxi&ProductID=2000088670&VariantID=

vs.

Fashion-Consience.com floral maxi dress
http://www.fashion-conscience.com/clothing/dresses/fairly-made-floral-print-sleeveless-maxi-dress.html

AND

Wet Seal pink and white scarf
http://www.wetseal.com/jersey-stripe-infinity-scarf-47840126.html?dwvar_47840126_color=850#start=26

vs.

Purse & Clutch pink and white scarf (made with love in Cambodia)
http://www.purseandclutch.com/collections/scarves/products/pink-white-striped-scarf

Brea said...

Eye opening! Thanks, Elizabeth.

ellen said...

thank you for such a great blog post!!

ellen said...

my sseko sandals and noonday scarves are my favourites so far!

ellen said...

I love my Noonday hammered drop earrings (http://www.elizabethbricknell.noondaycollection.com/earrings/hammered-drop-earrings-silver) and i'm glad they were ethically produced unlike this pair from target:

http://www.target.com/p/global-girlfriend-chandelier-earrings-silver/-/A-15015125#prodSlot=large_9_17

Emily Kosmack said...

Thank you for this post!

.betsy.. said...

Thank you so much for sharing!

Shasta Looper said...

I'm just now becoming more aware of the fair trade markets. This happened through Noonday. My favorite piece so far is my Noonday paper bead necklace.

Courtney Lindsey said...

I haven't even received it yet, but I know my favorite fair trade purchase will be my Kismet Day Bag from Noonday. It's on it's way! I am hosting a trunk show with a local ambassador now and can't wait to share Noonday with others & shop the spring collection! :) I also love my Sseko sandals and my paper bead necklaces from Amazima.

Liz said...

It's a simple thing, but I really try to shop at thrift store. Yes, I'm probably buying things that aren't "fair trade" but I'm on a super tight budget, and I'm not creating demand for more, so that's what I do.

Allison Humphries said...

Great post. Sometimes I am tempted to go into Forever 21 when I see what others find in there....No longer tempted!

Liz said...

Fair trade Cocoa powder:
http://www.serrv.org/product/divine-cocoa-powder/divine-chocolate

Vs. Not fair trade Hersheys
http://www.hersheys.com/pure-products/details.aspx?id=4809

Erin said...

very eye-opening. thank you for this. convicting, to say the least. noonday has been my go-to thus far for fair-trade purchases. i know i can and should be doing so much more. I've looked into chocolate and coffee...grateful to know fair-trade options are available even at walmart.

Brian Landers said...

It is sad how many times my wife and I have gone to forever 21. We will no longer be going there. It is true that where you spend your money is where your heart/beliefs are. I love supporting companies like noonday!

Lifesabeech said...

Love this post. When I knowingly purchase products I know were produced by people who are not receiving a livable wage I feel ashamed because I know better.
I have purchased many items from Noonday, but my new favorite is No. 41. I purchased one of their artisan made bags and I love it. http://www.no41.org/

Ria said...

what about bedding? where can i find adorable bedding that is ethically produced? Much love!

Kame'ko Batts said...

Forever 21 used to be one of my favorite stores because of house cute and inexpensive it is. Now, its one of my LEAST favorite stores. It didn't occur to me that the inexpensive products came with a price to those who have to supply it. Its horrible. Because of places like Forever21 I have decided to become more of a fair shopper. I have gotten a few days from noonday but my all time favorite purchase is my White and black infinity scarf that was hand knit! It is super cozy and I have gotten so many compliments. Plus, Noonday's quality is great! The price might be more but it was made with love and empowering people!! Plus, it lasts forever - unlike forever21!

Kame'ko Batts said...

http://www.noondaycollection.com/necklaces/wanderlust-necklace

http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?BR=f21&Category=acc_jewelry&ProductID=1017305825&VariantID=

Identical shape and color!

Melissa Ann said...

Jeans? Please tell me where I can get jeans!

RaChelle and Paul said...

My Noonday items are my best fair trade purchases…I would like to expand my fair trade horizons! Blogs such as yours are so helpful! Thank you.

Katrina Bos said...

I don't wear many accessories but most of the ones I do wear are Noonday

littlehouseinthesuburb said...

Thank you for your post! I've been angry about this for years and I'm glad I found Noonday because it gives me a chance to make a statement with my purchasing power.

Ashley @ ReallyRussell said...

Very insightful post! I stumbled upon this while checking out the Noonday Collection spring line. I love my purchases from Noonday and I don't feel guilty for splurging on them. I have a sense of pride when someone compliments the jewelry and I can tell them about the company. If I wasn't already involved in another direct sales company, I would be an ambassador for sure.

Maegan Decker said...

This post has inspired me to pay more attention while shopping. I loved Forever 21 but NO MORE! My favorite piece from the Noonday Collection is the Taj Earrings because they simply go with EVERYTHING! :)

M HEARD said...

Thank you. I USED to be a avid Forever 21 shopper, when you know better you do better ;)

Sarah Hanley said...

I WILL be wise with my dollars! Cheap is just that, cheap. Thanks for the post! (and the opportunity to WIN!)

Jenn said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! Go you! Good job, my fellow roar Noonday sister and world changer!

Heather said...

Thank you for this post! The best way to make a difference is through education!

Elizabeth Carwile said...

I love my Noonday Bukenya Fringe necklace. It's one of my favorite things to wear!

Stephanie said...

It's sad to think how many times I have shopped there without even batting an eye... I just needed something cheap and fast. I never really thought about who was behind what I was purchasing. Thanks for bringing this to light!

Wendy Lucas said...

Great post! (I'm not the first to tell you! :D) I'm super frugal when it comes to shopping for ANYTHING....it's deeply ingrained in me haha! BUT, I do love to spend extra on well-made, hand-made items with a great mission behind them. I bet you would like WorldCrafts if you haven't already looked into them. A friend of mine works for them...check them out when you have a chance. WorldCrafts is joined with WMU, the Baptist Women's organization. Their pinterest board is here: http://www.pinterest.com/worldcrafts/

Sarai Dominguez said...

I think it is SO important that people realize why stuff is the way it is and HOW we can help fix other people´s problems! :D

Mallory said...

Love all of my Noonday purchases!

Allison said...

I want to win my 1st piece!