NEW YORK — For years, teens flocked to Forever 21’s massive stores at the nation’s malls — including the Huntington Mall in West Virginia — for its speedy take on fashion, like its $5 shimmery halter tops and $25 dresses.

But the chain that helped popularize so-called fast fashion has moved too slow for a new generation of young customers. The Los Angeles-based privately held chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Sunday, a victim of rapidly changing shopping tastes among teens who are increasingly turning away from malls and heading to trendy online sites.

They’re also interested in buying eco-friendly fashions, like pants made from recycled plastic, not stuff they’ll just throw away after a few uses. And they’re gravitating toward online second sites where clothes can be used over and over again. In fact, the secondhand fashion business is projected to reach $64 billion by 2028, nearly 1.5 times the size of fast fashion, according to a report by Global Data Retail.

The bankruptcy marks a dramatic fall for the retailer. Forever 21 was founded in 1984 and, along with other fast-fashion chains like H&M and Zara, rode a wave of popularity among young customers that took off in the mid-1990s. It even stole customers from traditional stalwarts like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle.

Their popularity grew during the Great Recession, when shoppers sought fashion bargains. But Forever 21 went on an aggressive expansion just as shoppers were moving more online. Now, it’s closing as many as 350 stores globally, including as many as 178 stores in the U.S. As of the bankruptcy filing, it operated about 800 stores globally, including more than 500 stores in the U.S. The company says it will still operate its e-commerce business, which accounts for 16% of total sales.

Which stores will be closed has not been announced. At the Huntington Mall, the Forever 21 store opened three years ago, in a space formerly occupied by Elder-Beerman.

“The world has changed, and Forever 21 didn’t change with it,” said Stacey Widlitz, president of SW Retail Advisors. “And the walls closed in, in terms of the competition.”

Widlitz and others noted that the chain was also dogged by the deteriorating quality of its clothing.

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