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Shein clothing tag
Shein clothing tag
Original photo by Isabel Gonzalez
Style > Fashion

Why Does Everyone Hate Shein? A Deep Dive Into Fast Fashion and Its Problems

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

It seems as if the fashion industry has completely transformed in the past decade. People are constantly searching for trends as they surface and cycle through faster than ever. The high standard to keep up with all the latest trends has created a demand for new clothing that is much higher than we’ve ever seen. This can get expensive, and the general population simply doesn’t have the money to fund an endless wardrobe full of clothes that will be out of style in a few weeks. As this problem arose, there entered the new beast of the fashion industry, online fast fashion companies.

The most well-known in the industry is Shein. The company has created a formula that has drawn millions of customers in. Their success can be broken down like this: it’s extremely cheap, it’s accessible and it replicates the styles of more expensive brands. In the past few years, Shein has completely taken over not just the online fashion industry but the fashion industry as a whole. The Guardian recently reported, “The e-commerce giant was valued at $100bn, making it worth as much as Zara and H&M combined.” As they continue to completely dominate the market, they are producing record-breaking numbers of clothing, close to 10,000 new products a day.

As Shein skyrocketed to success, some controversial information has been released about the company. It came out that the working conditions provided for the employees were extremely harsh, including close to 12-hour workdays, severely low salaries and a requirement to produce 500 clothing items a day. It was also reported by Glamour Magazine that if they mess up on any item of clothing, they are penalized two-thirds of their daily wage.

Accompanying the extremely harsh conditions for those producing the clothes, fast fashion also creates a huge environmental impact. In an article written by Rashmila Maiti, “The fashion industry is the second largest consumer industry of water, requiring about 700 gallons to produce one cotton shirt and 2,000 gallons of water to produce a pair of jeans.” With Shein’s production of 10,000 new products a day, the effect these corporations have on the climate become clearer. There are also other factors, like how energy-intensive fashion production is, requiring huge amounts of petroleum and other non-renewable resources. The incredible amount of microplastics in the ocean from the textile industry is also very concerning.

These effects are permanent, and with time, they will only worsen. With social media platforms like TikTok perpetuating these extremely fast-paced trends that expect people to provide themselves with whole new wardrobes each month, these corporations will just get more and more successful. I know how tempting the accessibility and low prices these stores offer can be, but alternatives like thrifting or buying more timeless pieces can help combat the microtrends that have become so popular. Moving forward, I hope that we all try to be a bit more mindful in our purchases and remember that each item comes from somewhere and that its journey to get to your doorstep can be a destructive one.

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I'm a student at Florida State University, with a passion for writing and creating.