The thought of a Forever 21 launch party in Seoul is so strange to me on a couple of levels. First of all, as I mentioned previously, Seoul is basically one large Forever 21. You can find similar fashion items (if not the same exact thing with a different tag) for a fraction of the price in Edae, Kangnam, or Dongdaemun. Secondly, I still remember when Forever 21 was just a step above Rave or Jean's Warehouse, a place to buy your clubbing outfit for under $20. Now's it's become the mecca of the budget fashionista.
You have to admire the founders of Forever 21 for seeing the potential in Korean manufactured fashions and their ability to make it appeal to the American Mall demographic (i.e., Asian Americans).
Speaking of malls, Forever 21 had yet to open before I left, but I did see the Coming Soon signs at the newly built M Plaza (located right next to the Body Shop). I'm calling it. In about ten years, Myeongdong is going to become one big shopping mall. Yeah, I'm talking American style. Who knows? It may even have a Cinnabon and an Orange Julius.
Perhaps malls do not fit with the "here today, gone tomorrow" model of many small retailers in Seoul, but I think Korean consumers will quickly become accustomed to large, somewhat organized merchandise displays and air condintioning.
Mark my words.
(And if I'm wrong, I'm going to blame the economic woes of 2008)
I'll see you in December, Forever 21 Myeongdong.
If you're still there, that is...