The news that Forever 21 is filing for bankruptcy protection is not a great surprise to anyone following their story and the fast fashion clothing category in general. While longtime, fierce competitors, Zara and H&M have continued to update their story, their purpose, product selection, quality and overall brand relevance, Forever 21 decided to stay 21, Forever.
Brands that lean into being customer obsessed, distinctively inspired, pervasively innovative and ruthlessly pragmatic will become relentlessly relevant. But, building a relentlessly relevant brand takes hard work and maintaining a relentlessly relevant brand—by the very definition of the term—is even harder. Forever 21 forgot to remain relentless and now may become Forgotten 21 if they don’t shift their relevance (and brand) strategy quickly.