Now, following in the footsteps of other fast fashion companies, Shein has announced its own English-language reality show. The second episode of Shein X 100K Challenges launches on Sunday, streaming via their app and on YouTube, and follows 30 designers competing to show their collection at Shein fashion week in Los Angeles and take home the $100,000 cash prize. Behind Shein’s marketing success lurk legal allegations of copyright infringement and intense U.S. scrutiny over alleged forced labor practices and inhumane conditions for the workers who produce the exceedingly inexpensive clothing. I’ve previously written about how the fashion industry is one of the world’s most resource-intensive sectors, even though there is no official research that fully summarizes fashion’s environmental impact. The production of polyester textiles alone emitted about 706 billion kilograms of greenhouse gases in 2015, and hundreds of gallons of water go into making a single cotton garment. Most of the clothes from Shein are made from synthetic fabrics, which are responsible for releasing plastic microfibers into oceans.

Designers have told outlets including the Wall Street Journal, the BBC and the Guardian that Shein has allegedly ripped off their work. Women’s tops advertised on the Shein Canada website, for example, are often priced under $10 and sometimes as low as $5. A flurry of banners advertise steep sales and discounts on shipping — up to 90 per cent off for an extended May long weekend sale, for instance. A senior Shein executive told the BBC that it also has a team reviewing new designs by its suppliers before they reach the website, to try to filter out any infringement issues, which it takes seriously.

  1. The jacket tested as having 20 times the amount of lead that is safe for children to be exposed to, and the purse, five.
  2. This Plus Floral Lace Harness Bralette makes us want to wrap a fur coat around our shoulders, pour a chalice full of wine, adjust our crowns, and call it a day.
  3. And despite Shein’s popularity, the company remains largely unknown among Chinese consumers.
  4. Miriam Diamond, environmental chemist and University of Toronto professor, pointed out to CBC that this contamination is not only unsafe for shoppers but also for the individuals actually producing these items.
  5. For instance, states could introduce extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws, which have already required producers in California, New Jersey and Washington to take responsibility for the environmental waste created from their products.
  6. A senior Shein executive told the BBC that it also has a team reviewing new designs by its suppliers before they reach the website, to try to filter out any infringement issues, which it takes seriously.

Miriam Diamond, environmental chemist and University of Toronto professor, pointed out to CBC that this contamination is not only unsafe for shoppers but also for the individuals actually producing these items. CBC reports that since being alerted of the contaminations, Shein has removed the flagged products from their website and stopped working with the suppliers of these products until they’ve completed their own investigation and taken any necessary action(s). The Times reported that Shein is considering buying Topshop, another fast-fashion retailer based in the US.

Anti-modern slavery reporting

Allegations of copyright infringement are not unique to Shein, however — other well-known clothing brands have faced their fair share of accusations that they’ve lifted designs from artists over the past decade as well, with some resulting in legal payouts. It’s a huge challenge, with the fashion industry accounting for up to 8% of global carbon emissions, according to one UN study. Although the firm has paid out more than $1m (£741,000) to independent designers to date, Twitter still sees complaints from smaller businesses. Some claim that Shein has allegedly copied their designs and sold similar items at a lower cost. Targeting trend (and cost) conscious shoppers on social media, the online-only giant adds a staggering 6,000 new items to its range daily. While it’s expected for Shein’s quality to be subpar based on the website’s prices, some Shein fails have been so shocking that they have actually proved newsworthy, such as one story about a woman’s shoes melting while she attended a music festival.

Fast fashion took off in the 1990s

Millions rely on Vox’s clear, high-quality journalism to understand the forces shaping today’s world. Support our mission and help keep Vox free for all by making a financial contribution to Vox today. The decision to shop at Shein is ultimately personal and will depend on a variety of factors, from what you’re shopping for to how you view sustainability and working condition issues. Whenever you fork over your credit card number and other personal information, you want to make sure the site you’re using is safe.

This speedy approach is possible because of its unique supply-chain setup.

Even though it’s existed for a while, Shein has really increased its popularity since 2020. Apart from the speed and abundance with which the company updates its website, Shein is also unique in its reliance on social media influencers for marketing. As Wired reported, the brand sends free clothes to influencers, who then make content featuring the items they receive — some of which become the famous Shein hauls — and offer discount codes to their followers, from which they often receive a commission. Shein is a huge name on social media, but there is a lot of information and history regarding the brand that most influencers aren’t mentioning.

Red Flags About Shopping on Temu

Shein gave fast fashion a whole new meaning by using AI technology to identify trends and an online-only model to churn out thousands of garments in record time. People first began embracing cheaply made clothing in the 60s and 70s as fashion trends began to change more frequently and companies turned to offshore textile manufacturing to cut costs, Fashionista reported. In 2015, Xu shifted the business to focus on fast-fashion apparel and rebranded as Shein, pronounced “she-in.” But the company’s rise didn’t come until 2020, when quarantined shoppers gave a boon to e-commerce. These suppliers have now turned to Temu, aggressively targeting Shein’s market share by investing billions to ship low-cost goods from China to Western consumers, the Financial Times reports. According to an interview CEO Molly Miao gave to Forbes, it drops 700 to 1,000 new items a day on the site. Retail analysts Edited report that 70% of its products have been on the site less than three months.

Shein Men’s Apparel Review

US lawmakers have lobbied to delay Shein’s public offering until they can verify that the company does not benefit from forced labor. Shortly after the company’s $100 billion valuation in 2022, Shein’s sales took a downturn. Business of Fashion reported that the company’s sales declined for five months before slightly increasing in December, based on online spending data from Earnest Analytics. It’s come under fire for producing extremely high volumes of garments, which reports say contribute to overcrowded landfills and 6.3 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

In August, Reuters reported that Shein has yet to disclose information about its working conditions and supply chain to the British government, which the retailer is required to do under UK law. Shein had also previously falsely stated on its website that its factories were certified by international labor standard bodies, according to Reuters. During Shein’s early years, there was very little that distinguished the brand from other Chinese e-commerce retailers, except that it sold wedding gowns. According to reporting from PandaYoo, an English-language site published by Chinese bloggers, Shein sourced its products from China’s wholesale clothing market in Guangzhou, a region where many Chinese garment factories and markets are centralized. It operated much like a dropshipping business that sells products from third-party wholesalers directly to overseas shoppers. “Each new design is basically a bet because Shein can estimate how well a product is going to do, but it doesn’t know for sure until it sells,” Brennan explained.

Customers and influencers on TikTok have driven much of Shein’s international appeal. Shoppers dump piles of Shein-branded packages from large cardboard boxes onto the floors of their bedrooms, where you’ll also probably see garlands of fake ivy and string lights hanging from the walls. One woman filmed a box truck delivering a giant box to her driveway after she said she bought $2,000 worth of Shein products.

“This helped the online retailer grow its presence and reach a wider audience more quickly.” The little-known founders of Sheinside got together in 2008, led by entrepreneur Xu Yangtian, who started out in digital marketing and selling wedding dresses online. Shein’s own reporting found that its customers are increasingly interested in secondhand. In December, the company released findings from its 2023 Circularity Study, which surveyed 3,515 Shein customers ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 45 in the US, Mexico, Brazil, the UK, France, and Germany. But some critics say these efforts pale in comparison to the company’s output of an estimated 314,877 new styles per year, according to a Business of Fashion article, which used data from retail analytics firm Edited. In another fundraising round earlier this year, Shein’s valuation dipped to $66 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported.

They say that the company stole their designs and sold them as products on its site. The court filing alleges that copyright infringement is central to Shein’s business model and that the company passes the blame onto third-party vendors. Analysts have dubbed Shein’s business model “real-time retail” because new designs can take as little as three days to produce, Vox reported. Because of this, there are as many as 600,000 items listed on the site at any given time, according to BBC.

Securities and Exchange Commission to verify Shein’s supply chain does not use forced Uyghur labour before considering reported plans for an IPO in the country, according to Reuters. A 2022 Bloomberg report found that Shein’s garments contained cotton linked to China’s Xinjiang region. Rights hire freelance wordpress developer groups and governments have accused China of forced labour and internment of Uyghurs, a mainly Muslim ethnic minority, in Xinjiang. The sheer volume and speed at which Shein gets the latest fashions into consumers’ hands spurs concerns that not all of Shein’s clothing is original.

In one case reported by The Guardian, a U.K.-based painter found one of her paintings stamped onto a Shein sweatshirt. And nail artist Yan Tee found her intricate nail designs on press-on nails sold at the company, reports the BBC. The company has benefited from viral marketing that is especially popular with gen-Z on social media, Winder says. The popular #SheinHaul tag on TikTok and Instagram sees thousands of teens and young adults act as influencers for the brand as they share what came in their latest bulk order. The Chinese brand insists that its method of producing clothes in small batches is more efficient and that little goes to waste. A spokesperson said that its business model “balances consumers’ wants and needs and the inventory process”.

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