May 08

Chasing the almighty dollar

May 8- money There are always two sides to every story. But, in my view, the decision by Forever 21 and Target to launch 'plus-size' lines for obese teenagers comes down to one thing: chasing sales no matter what the cost.

I agree that all sized teens should have the same fashion options. But, selling lines that go up to size 30 sends exactly the wrong message: '…It's ok to eat to excess and jeopardize your long-term health. We'll still provide you with every fashion accessory your slimmer, healthier peers sport.'

According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, the rate of obesity among adolescents 12-19 has more than tripled in the last 20 years. Providing a full line of plus size clothes is tantamount to telling these teens: 'Go ahead and inhale the Double Whopper, large fries and super-sized Coke. We'll have your dress and accessories waiting on aisle four.' (Note: my comments do not apply to those teens who suffer from medical or genetic disorders and can't control their weight).

Industry analysts estimate that Target, Forever 21 and other retailers who follow their sorry lead could be looking at an additional $3 billion in business within two years or less. In short, the almighty dollar trumps clearly corporate social responsibility for these organizations.

Advocates of plus-sized jean clothing say the obese have been penalized in the past for being overweight, and the Forever 21 and Target decisions are akin to a fashion Independence day for them. Obese teens may feel newly liberated, but sending a signal to them that it's ok to jeopardize one's health in the name of fashion is akin to turning an alcoholic loose in a liquor store. '…..Drink as much as you want. We believe alcoholics should have as many options as responsible adults.'

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Forever 21 and Target's moves are not only desperate, they're despicable.