dream of the 90s

Wet Seal Is Withering, Because You Didn’t Love It Enough

Photo: James Leynse/Corbis

Wet Seal, the popular teen clothing store either named for a slippery sea creature or a fresh envelope-marker, is reportedly edging on bankruptcy. Following in the once-hip footsteps of dELiA*s, Abercrombie, and Juicy Couture — its dominance in the eyes of cool young things has faded and it is scratching to earn it back.

BuzzFeed’s Sapna Maheshwari reports that financial losses and a hazy customer base plague Wet Seal. In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, the company wooed young women with its impressive connections to popular teen icons Mandy Moore and Ashanti. In the following years, the store grasped too widely when it attempted to appeal to 13- to 23-year olds. The clothes that resulted were an expectedly frenetic mix.

Now, management hopes that by ditching “juvenile” graphic T-shirts, the brand will focus on 18- to 24-year-olds. Meanwhile, cash is tight. It’s a race against the clock, but also against the vicious tides of time. You can’t get younger. In the meantime, we can pre-mourn the $38 dress and the $22 halter top that Mandy Moore might have worn in that video.

Wet Seal Is Withering Because You Don’t Love It