The fast fashion brand, Shein, has been gaining more and more popularity since its creation in 2012. The reason why it appeals to so many people is because of its low prices. You can find a whole outfit for less than $30. Shirts less than $10, jeans less than $15, and even full length dresses for $20 are what attract people to the website. In 2020-2021 it wasn’t uncommon to find a “Shein haul” video on social media. “Shein hauls” were posts made by influencers to show the clothes they ordered from Shein and try them on. Because of this, Shein’s popularity spiked. At the end of 2020 Shein made almost $10 billion from their sales. The trendiness and low prices are very easy to fall for but by giving in to the temptation, the popularity of this problematic company grows.
The first problem starts with their lack of supply chain transparency. On the website, Shein claims, “Supplier partners shall provide a safe, hygienic and healthy workplace environment, and take necessary measures to prevent employees from accidents and injuries arising out of, or related to, work in the course of their services.” To produce the newest trendy and cheap clothes, Shein uses sweatshops that make people work in horrible conditions for long hours while being paid low wages. In July of 2021, a Sixth Tone investigation was launched in Shein’s main production base. In Guangzhou, a city in south China, the Sixth Tone spoke with many people who worked in the factory. It was found that the workshops often violated Chinese labor laws and that many were illegal businesses. That made it difficult for Shein to actually know how well their workers were being treated. The workers were working in harsh conditions and Shein is doing their best to keep it a secret.
Fast fashion is responsible for not only 10% of carbon emission, but also 20% of wastewater. Each item is packed in a plastic bag and shipped out, which creates a lot of extra waste. Along with that, Shein items are made extremely cheap, which means that they don’t last long and will spend more time in landfills than in your closet. The materials they use, including polyester and nylon, don’t break down so quickly. Nylon may take 30-40 years to degrade but polyester can take more than 500 years to decompose. Shein likes to make money off of selling the newest trends as soon as they come out, which means they’re coming out with “700-1,000 new styles daily”, the CMO Molly Miao revealed. Since the prices are so low and they aren’t made to last, Shein sucks people into buying more and more of their clothes. The brand is unethical and shopping here is definitely something that should be avoided.