- Daniel Kulle on Tuesday was announced as the new chief executive officer of Forever 21, according to a press release from Authentic Brands Group (ABG).
- Kulle worked for fast-fashion retailer H&M for over 20 years, and was formerly the president of H&M North America. He most recently was an advisor to former H&M Group CEO Karl-Johan Persson and also served as a steering group member for three digital startups within H&M Group.
- In his new role, Kulle will update Forever 21's social media strategy, work on sustainability initiatives and focus on "re-energizing" the retailer's core product categories, per the release.
Forever 21 enters a new era with its appointment of an executive with fast fashion experience as its head.
The retailer was, for decades, a family-run affair. Founded by couple Jin Sook and Do Won Chang in the early 1980s, the Changs built a multi-billion dollar corporation from scratch but were notoriously tight-lipped about the inner workings of their business. As information came out following its Chapter 11 filing, many pointed to the family's closed management style as part of the downfall of the retailer.
Kulle's digital experience holds the potential of a fresh approach, and the possibility of rectifying some of the retailer's previous friction points, including the lack of a cohesive e-commerce presence and attention to sustainability issues.
Until now, Forever 21 has shown little initiative in either of those spaces. Competitor H&M increased its focus on sustainability through its Conscious Collection, a pledge to reach 100% recycled or sustainable materials across its supply chain by 2030, and its efforts to sustainably source cotton.
But, Kulle has a challenging road ahead as consumers drift away from fast fashion and turn instead to other options, including the growing secondhand apparel market. "The desire for cheap fast fashion has absolutely waned, and consumers obviously want to invest in better quality and better brands," MKM Partners Managing Director Roxanne Meyer told Retail Dive in an earlier interview about the sector.