Stop Shopping at Shein

Workers race to make 500 garments a day to keep their job. (Photo Courtesy of Public Domain)

Shein, an online fast fashion retailer based out of China, took over the fashion industry with their low prices, trendy pieces, and variety of products. Recent investigations have uncovered the dark reality and behind the scenes of what Shein workers actually go through.

The Shein app was downloaded 157 million times in 2021, making it the second most downloaded shopping app of that year. Social media has had the biggest influence on teenage girls to shop from them. The cheap prices and trendy patterns have people obsessed. But would you still shop from there knowing the harm it causes both workers and the environment?

Cruel and illegal working conditions

Shein has done just about everything you can do wrong with a company. Has it ever occurred to you how the products can be so cheap? You can’t sell $5 clothes without someone along the line paying for that. Workers are required to make 500 garments a day and are paid .14 yuan, which is 2 U.S. cents, for each one. The poor working conditions allow workers one day off a month after being subjected to working 16-hour days. 

The Chinese online fast fashion retailer is known for being cheap and putting high levels of toxic chemicals in its clothing. Not to mention the terrible quality of fabric from using synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon; neither of which decay. 

Kate Smith, sophomore, said, “I have like a sweater from there and a shirt and the thread just comes out and it’s not very strong material.”

Harm to the environment

Shein pushes out designs much faster than any other retailers. Workers race to produce up to 1,000 new items that drop on Shein’s website everyday. The mass production of cheap, poor quality, disposable clothing is what fast fashion is made of. Shein has ticked each of these boxes, making it a major contributor to the 10% of total global carbon emissions the fashion industry comprises. This means that every piece of clothing we buy from Shein will likely spend much more time in a landfill than they will ever spend in our wardrobes.


Shein’s insensitivity has caused them to have to apologize for selling Muslim prayer mats as “frilled Greek carpets” and after a week of that scandel, they sold a necklace in the shape of a swastika. People need to hold companies like this responsible for offensive and discriminatory products.

Jill Mayes, junior, said, “It’s unethical and the quality is also really cheap.” Here’s Mayes’ response to people still shopping at Shein: “Look in the news. Workers literally write ‘send help’ on the tags because of the poor conditions. Fast fashion is such a huge problem so if you can, try to steer clear of them [fast fashion brands] and find a more sustainable brand.” 

Shopping brands everywhere partake in the fast fashion issue, but Shein may be the worst of them all. Throughout the process of making the clothes, it’s mostly women that are affected. Most workers are women and most shoppers are also women. From the company’s cruel and illegal working conditions to the insensitivity when advertising and harm to the environment, we can confidently say that Shein is exploitative and should not be supported. 


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