Shein’s chic clothes take advantage of the environment | opinion – Advice Eating







(Tiranjini Pillai / Daily Titan)


Shein, a Chinese fast fashion online retailer founded in 2012, is known as the chic shopping platform to discover trendy styles at cheap prices with an endless selection of clothes to add to cart. Although the company has been around for a decade, its popularity has boomed due to social media influencers promoting their viral clothing transports. However, consumers need to stop spending their money on Shein’s garments as they are not timeless.

According to Shein’s website, “the beauty of fashion should be accessible to all, not just the privileged few.” In 2021, they generated nearly $16 billion in sales, a 60% increase from 2020. To match their soaring profits achieve, Shein’s “cutting-edge technology” engages in low-cost production at a rapid pace, greatly exacerbating environmental damage.

Shein’s prices are shockingly cheap, as low as $4, which often leaves a consumer wondering what the catch is.

Destroying the environment by mass-producing cheap fast-fashion clothing is the ultimate catch, which Shein ignores in favor of convenience. When clothing trends go out of fashion, items quickly end up in landfills.

According to Treehugger, the average American buys about 70 pieces of clothing a year, and because of fast fashion, consumers are more likely to buy cheap clothes, which allows Shein to release clothes frequently, rather than following a seasonal schedule like most fashion brands. Consumers are easily drawn to stylish and cheap items that may not be found elsewhere. However, their impulsive shopping behavior hinders environmental protection.

Fast fashion companies contribute to global pollution, with textile dyes being the second largest polluter. According to the Columbia Climate School, fast fashion contributes to climate change, water pollution and microplastic pollution. The article states that not only is the fashion industry responsible for 10% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of the world’s wastewater, but it also uses more energy than the aviation and shipping industries combined.

Although Shein consciously and quickly produces trendy clothes, consumers tend to throw away the clothes because of their poor quality. As flattering or stylish as it may seem, these garments aren’t made to last, they simply help Shein capitalize on the latest trends. Because the clothes are not made from quality materials, it would be difficult to donate them as they would not be in wearable condition if the trend died out.

According to a Forbes interview with Shein CEO Molly Miao, the “New” section is the most popular because Shein releases 700-1,000 new styles every day. According to Shein’s website, “Shein creates a wide range of options for every mood and occasion.” Many of the garments are made from fabrics like polyester and nylon, which are harmful to the environment because they’re not biodegradable.

In addition to Shein’s contribution to massive environmental damage, Shein fails to disclose her production process. Shein overwhelms its suppliers with a 75-hour week and violates local labor laws in China, exposing many of their workers to extremely low wages and poor working conditions. Shein’s unethical labor practices allow them to make a profit. Buyers need to be aware that buying Shein’s clothes means the company is benefiting from the exploitation of its workers.

Instead, there are many clothing retailers and brands that practice sustainability, such as Levi’s, Adidas and Reformation, that people should buy from. According to Levi’s website, they are working on 100% sustainably sourced cotton and 100% renewable energy in owned and operated facilities by 2025. Levi’s has saved 4.2 billion liters of water since launching its Water

Another great way consumers can practice sustainability is by buying clothes from thrift stores. Nearby Cal State Fullerton is full of chic thrift stores like Buffalo Exchange, Goodwill and Uptown Cheapskate. There are also online thrift stores like ThredUp and Thrifted.com. You can also contribute to sustainability by donating clothes you don’t wear.

Thrifting is an environmentally friendly practice that reduces air pollution and energy consumption. Unlike the online fast fashion giant, second-hand shopping helps keep clothes out of landfill.

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