You’ve probably seen the trendy online site called Shein that touts super cheap and super cute clothes. The threads shown on their website are tailored to our fast fashion tastes and the sales and coupons are practically endless.
But you have to wonder, what lies behind all these cheap prices?
Shady business practices
Shein has notoriously lacked transparency in their supply chain. While they do have an “About Us” page that details their manufacturing and shipping process, all the way down to how they take their pictures, reading through the different pages will show that nothing is every really specified.
Phrases like “professional handiwork”, “shortened production cycles”, and “keep[ing] up with the latest fashion trends” point to a very unclear picture of how their clothes are really made.
There’s a high possibility that the company is outsourcing labor in low-income countries or are engaging in damaging production processes to cut costs (considering how many clothes they put out every week and how cheap they sell it for).
Offensive and inconsiderate products
Back in 2020, the brand received major flak online for the sale of what looked to be a necklace sporting the swastika symbol. The necklace, according to Shein, was supposed to be a Buddhist symbol. Netizens didn’t buy it and the company had no choice but to apologize for the mistake.
This indiscretion was not an isolated incident. Just a week prior to that, the company also received backlash for selling a carpet that resembled a Muslim prayer rug. Many Muslim activists cried foul, which led to another apology by Shein.
Both of these product blunders point to the fact that Shein remains inconsiderate about the products they choose to put out. Many of these “trendy” pieces are considered offensive and disrespectful, an aspect that the company may have not completely thought through.
Harmful impact to the environment
This one comes as no surprise, but Shein is essentially a fast fashion brand, and a cheap one at that. The extreme affordability of the clothes is a good place to question what that really means for the environment.
Because the company rolls out new styles so quickly, it’s easy to see that that would mean more water pollution from dyeing, more greenhouse gas emissions, and basically more waste. Most of the clothes are fashioned from synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon, which unfortunately do not decay.
There is no direct evidence of Shein using animal fur or purposefully dumping harmful chemicals into rivers, but the fact stands that fast fashion does not do anything for the environment, and fast fashion is what Shein is good at.
Although we can’t tell you where to buy your next few fits, we hope that conscious consumerism leads you to ask more questions about where you get your clothes. Shein is not the only fast fashion brand making big bucks off the internet; get smart and look into if what you’re really buying is worth its actual cost.
READ: Â What is Ethical Shopping? The Rundown on Being a Wiser Consumer