Teen retailer Wet Seal was founded in Newport Beach, California in 1962 and started off as a swimwear company, but later on included west coast influenced clothing on its racks. The brand recently announced that they will be closing the doors of all 171 of it’s current locations. Unlike American Apparel, another brand that has recently decided it will be closing it’s doors this year, they were bought by another store, Canadian company Gildan. Wet Seal will be closed for good as it will not be taken over by an outside party to look over it’s business transactions. In 2015 the brand closed the majority of it’s stores while also filing for bankruptcy, resulting in thousands losing their jobs.

The closing of this store is partially due to changing shopping habits. Millennials are increasing the amount of purchases that they make online. Trendy and affordable online retailers like Fashion Nova are also becoming a huge competition for these businesses. The people behind Wet Seal were aware of this shift as one of their goals after filing for bankruptcy was to increase traffic to the store’s website. In addition to online retailers, fast fashion stores, like H&M, that quickly put out clothes similar to designs that were recently seen on the runway are also stealing away customers from Wet Seal. Many other stores that can’t keep up with the demands of consumers are closing more locations as well. This list includes Macy’s, Sears, and The Limited.

Back in the day Wet Seal was known for items like bedazzled flared jeans and affordable California inspired clothing. 90’s babies instantly felt the nostalgia towards the store that was a significant part of their youth and immediately took to twitter to grieve the closing of the store. There may be a silver lining in this situation after all for fans of the Wet Seal brand. Closing stores only mean that a huge sale will precede for the already low-priced clothing, which many twitter users mentioned in the discussion about the stores closing. For a limited time customers will be able to get their hands on cute finds for next to nothing.

About The Author

Fashion Major, University of Alabama, Chicago, Photography

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