Koreatown has become a hot cultural product like many ethnic communities worldwide. Lately, brands have been successful in leveraging ethnic identity as a part of their universal appeal. Brands like @korelimited and @koreatownrunclub have touted Koreatown in its brand elements with great success.
Half a decade ago, @koreatown (Mike Pak) started Koreatown Run Club as a community driven group to help others enjoy the benefits of running. After a hot start, Mike Pak and his co-founder began to build upon their group’s deep roots in Koreatown, Los Angeles by adding styling elements and even literally using the word “Koreatown” in their apparel and merchandise.
Recently, Koreatown Run Club has reached widely acclaimed success and global attention. As the eyes of the world start to gather around Mike Pak and his vision for Koreatown Run Club, another Korean brand with an interesting history, Forever 21, clearly drew inspiration or maybe even blatantly followed Mike Pak’s creative brand elements.
After realizing his block letter design of Koreatown had been “copied” by the mega fast fashion brand Forever 21, Mike Pak drew upon his followers and posted on his @koreatown Instagram profile: “SUCK MY ASS @forever21 ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! TAKE THIS DOWN! SPAM THESE FUCKS!.”
Since the issue transpired on July 25th, Mike Pak has spoken directly with Forever 21 and reached a solution he perceives to be just. Forever 21 has taken down the t-shirt from it’s stores and also has pledged to donate $100,000 total to 5 different community organizations in Koreatown, Los Angeles.
Although we are unsure if this makes Forever 21’s decision to copy rather than blaze their own trail acceptable, we are sure that Forever 21 is certainly having an open and honest conversation with Koreatown Run Club founder Mike Pak to make sure he doesn’t rally up his army for a 2nd go.