Is SHEIN fast fashion?

The affordable Chinese retailer claim 'everyone can enjoy the beauty of fashion' - but is it ethical?
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They offer unbelievably affordable clothing – but is SHEIN fast fashion?

The international B2C e-commerce platform SHEIN has the philosophy that ‘everyone can enjoy the beauty of fashion,’ offering trend-led garments that are accessible to many.

However some customers have even been worried that shopping with them is dangerous due to the shockingly cheap prices.

Here, we look at their practises.

READ MORE: Is ASOS ethical and sustainable?

Is SHEIN fast fashion?

In short, yes.

SHEIN is one of the fastest growing fast fashion retailers online, offering around 500 new items every day at very low prices.

Its parent company Shenzhen Globalegrow E-Commerce Co. Ltd, located in China, also owns fast fashion brands Zaful, Romwe, Choies and Modlily.

It relies on a quick turnaround of designs, from the moment a garment is seen on a catwalk or celebrity, to when a garment is released for sale on the website.

SHEIN’s prices are so shockingly cheap that it’s clear someone is suffering down the line and it’s likely to be the garment workers. They’re likely to be paid very cheap wages, working long hours and in dangerous conditions in sweatshops.

READ MORE: Is Zara fast fashion?

Fast fashion can never be sustainable as it encourages consumers to buy an item to wear just a few times and then dispose of it. This may be donating to charity or literally throwing it in the bin, but the majority of the time it ends up in landfill.

Read more about fast fashion here, or if you’re thinking of shopping more sustainably, read more about sustainable fashion here.

Is SHEIN an ethical brand?

Like Boohoo, Nasty Gal and Pretty Little Thing, SHEIN fails to offer any transparency about its production chain, which is alarming.

Many countries in which garment factories are located have varying laws regarding child labour. Study Breaks offers Bangladesh as an example, where children as young as 14 are able to work.

Regarding child labour, SHEIN say, ‘We strictly abide by child labor laws in each of the countries that we operate in. Neither we nor any of our partners are allowed to hire underage children. Any partners or vendors found to have violated these laws are terminated immediately and reported to the authorities.’

However while SHEIN deny using child labour to produce their garments, it’s a real possibility.

It also came under fire for selling a £2 Nazi swastika necklace, before removing it from its online store. Just five days prior to this disrespectful error, it had also been slammed for selling Islamic prayer rugs as decorative rugs.

READ MORE: Is vintage fashion sustainable?

Which brands are not fast fashion?

Other brands that are considered to be fast fashion include BoohooPretty Little ThingPrimarkZara, Nasty Gal and H&M among many, many more.

Read our exhaustive list of fast fashion brands here.

What stores are considered fast fashion?

Brands considered sustainable include People Tree, House of Sunny, Lucy & Yak, LF Markey and Paloma Faith, among many more.

Read our list of sustainable and plus-size fashion brands here.

Is SHEIN safe to buy from in 2021?

While SHEIN’s prices are very cheap, the website is not a scam.

Website Reviews explains that items are made and shipped from overseas, so shipping times can be slow and the sizes may differ from the western sizes we’re familiar with.

Wear Next Opinion

Wear Next believes it’s important to highlight the negative and unjust practises taking place in the fashion industry. We believe ethics and sustainability are an important talking point to bring about change and we encourage you to contact fashion brands to demand this.

However we understand that sustainable fashion isn’t accessible for every body due to various factors, such as budget and the ability to find confidence-boosting clothes that fit. We will continue to offer you fashion inspiration and guidance to suit every body and budget, while also highlighting the unjust systems at play in the fashion industry.

Would you still shop at SHEIN? Let us know in the comments below.

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