Recessionistas, rejoice. Your motherland, Forever 21, has opened its largest Nevada store at Fashion Show mall, but be forewarned: It's not the Forever 21 you're used to.
Spanning more than 126,000 feet, two crystal chandeliers sparkle over the escalators that lead from racks and racks of modestly priced trendy clothes to more racks of modestly priced trendy clothes.
It's a concept store that doesn't forget a single shopper. Men, children, plus-size women, even the shopper whose well beyond her 20s enjoys a space just for them and has one of 132 fitting rooms with their name on it. It's all part of Forever 21's goal to listen to its customers and follow through with action, something social media efforts such as Facebook and Twitter, have largely made possible. But senior marketing manager and daughter of the store's founders, Linda Chang, mostly credits the recession for these changes.
"It's made the shopping experience better as a whole," she says. "It's pushing everyone to be on top of their game."
The suffering economy also hand-delivered new customers to the retailer once known strictly as a juniors store. According to Chang, women quickly discovered the clothes and accessories could work into their adult wardrobes. The name Forever 21, she says, strictly represents a frame of mind, not an actual age limit. In fact, 70 percent of the store's customers are over 20 and celebrities such as Agyness Deyn and the Kardashian sisters -- all over 25 -- are proud fans.
Still, to further convince the shopper hung up on titles, Forever 21 introduces Love 21, a line designed for the woman in her mid-20s to 40s. The cuts are a little more modest and the fabrics are higher quality. Prices stay under $30.
Other exciting features at the new concept store include a complete denim bar (one pair is $9.50), a lingerie department, plenty more shoes and an activewear department. Chang admits it's a lot to take in, but that's why there's a styling station with a stylist on site at all times. Not only can the stylist help you navigate the store according to your trend cravings or body issues, they can also coordinate outfits with you. Chang says it helps the shopper not feel so overwhelmed, which can easily happen in a store of this size.
There's also a noticeable pretty factor here. There's a glossy sheen not seen in other Forever 21 stores around town. The displays alone can grab shoppers' attention and hold it tight. One has mannequins lounging in lawn chairs and barbecuing right outside a glittery gold trailer. Another has a mannequin laying in a tanning bed that happens to be on a sandy beach. The idea, Chang says, was to create an experience. With that much space, the shopper needs to have a new source of eye candy at every turn.
More than 3,000 shoppers lined up last Saturday to see the latest offering from their favorite budget retailer. All of them wanted to see the latest and greatest, but it begs the question: What's next?
Immediately on the horizon is the store's first designer collaboration with Brian Lichtenberg, who has created designs for Lady GaGa and Beyonce. Beyond that, it's hard to say. "We just want to keep listening to our customers," says Chang. "I don't think we'll ever stop."
The new Forever 21 concept store is at Fashion Show mall, 735-0053