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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Modern technology, over the course of the last 20 years or so, has produced two great shifts in our society: The first is shortened attention spans across our public sphere, and the second is over-consumption. One thing that is the perfect representation of these two new characteristics our generation possesses is the fast fashion industry, and the company that is front-running this industry is SHEIN.

On the surface, SHEIN is great. It’s fast, trendy, and best of all, it’s CHEAP, and the reason why this company is thriving at a virtually inconceivable rate is because of how it, along with other players in the fast fashion market, has taught us to prioritize micro-trends over personal style.

But have you taken the time to think about how it’s possible for SHEIN to attain all this success, making an annual revenue upwards of $10 billion, when the company sells its merchandise at a price point that nearly gives products away? Do you know what the true cost of shopping from SHEIN really is?

“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you. You decide what you are, what you express, by the way you dress and the way you live.”

Gianni Versace

Taking the time to do some research on every brand’s manufacturing practices before you decide to become one of their consumers is extremely difficult, so rather than having you rummage around the internet, looking for answers as to why you should NEVER shop from SHEIN again, I’ve narrowed down three reasons that should be convincing enough.

1. Stolen art and public insensitivity

The first problem to look at is how often SHEIN’s pieces are either stolen art or discriminatory. Jerren Gan, a writer for medium.com gave perfect examples of these issues when he wrote about how just last year SHEIN was under-fire for selling Muslim prayer mats with the Kabaa on them as “frilled Greek carpets” and less than a week after the company apologized for this, went under-fire again for listing a necklace with a swastika pendant on it.  

Apart from their public insensitivity and discrimination, SHEIN has also been repeatedly caught stealing art from smaller artists. One designer named Tiina Menzel actually had her designs stolen by SHEIN nine times in 2021 and when she approached them for copyright claims, they’d dismiss it by trying to pay her off. 

2. Unethical production standards

The next big issue to discuss is the company’s unethical production standards. Although on their responsibility page SHEIN claims to abide by child labor laws in each country they operate, we have to acknowledge that child labor is legal in many countries. For instance, Bangladesh’s legal age of employment is 14 years old, and coincidentally a hub for these fast-fashion factories. But of course, SHEIN won’t admit that they are having prepubescent children make the clothes you’re wearing out to West 7th. But they aren’t denying it either… 

“Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone somehwere is paying.”

Lucy Siegle

3. contribution to climate change

The final reason why you should never shop from SHEIN is because of its horrible impact on the environment.

Let me put this into perspective for you:

According to UN figures, it takes almost 8000 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans. That’s how much water one person drinks in seven years, for ONE. PAIR. OF. JEANS. And do you know how many variations of jean products SHEIN has listed on their site right now? The answer is 38,666, and that’s not jeans in total, that’s just the number of possible styles that you can pick from. 

So yeah, it’s obvious that SHEIN is dominating the fast-fashion industry, so much so that they aren’t even considered fast-fashion, they’re considered REAL-TIME fashion. For those who don’t know, real-time fashion is defined as “a sales model based on a very short cycle between the production and retail phase,” and these real-time companies have a business approach that remains “alert to the trends and changes in taste, phenomenons, and short-lived fashions, to respond to demand practically in real-time,” (Stephania Gave, Real Time Fashion: an express way to sell fashion).

Their own CMO, Molly Miao, revealed that the company drops somewhere between 700-1000 new styles daily. SHEIN’s production NEVER. STOPS.

According to Harmony Enterprises, the U.S. generates an average of 25 billion pounds of textiles per year, amounting to 82 pounds per US resident, and of that 82 pounds, 85% goes into landfills every year. The fashion industry is the second highest polluter, currently responsible for 10% of the annual global carbon emissions, and SHEIN is front-running this industry, driving our Earth closer and closer to irreversible climate change every single minute.

“Cheap fashion is really far from that, it may be cheap in terms of financial cost, but very expensive when it comes to the environment and the cost of human life.”

Sass Brown

I beg you to please consider the artists who are stolen from, the communities who are discriminated against, the workers who are abused and mistreated, and most of all our hurting Earth before you choose to shop from SHEIN again because although shopping from SHEIN is cheap, it comes with truly devastating costs. 

Chloe Cloud is a double major in English and Journalism at Texas Christian University. She is a fashion fanatic and a (self-proclaimed) thrift queen. When Chloe isn't working as Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus, you can find her at home binge-watching fashion and design competition reality shows. MBTI: INFP | Enneagram: Type 4 | Personality Twin: Carrie Bradshaw x Jenna Lyons' love-child
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