I am guilty. I have a fair few items from Shein and other fast fashion stores in my closet. And when I say a fair few, it’s more than I’m proud to admit. I see why there is so much hype for fast fashion. It’s cute, super in-style, and oh-so-cheap. A lot of the time, high quality, responsibly made products aren’t necessarily in everyone’s budget, and when stores like Shein go to the EXTREMES of cheap-ness, it can be hard to say no. You end up browsing and browsing, and suddenly you have 30 items in your cart. But, it makes you wonder: is Shein a bad company?
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There honestly has to be something up when things are THAT cheap. Who knows how bad things really are behind the scenes, but there are a fair few horrific details we are aware of about fast fashion.
First off, that addictiveness doesn’t just come from cheap prices– although those definitely help. Fast fashion websites like Shein are designed to keep you scrolling, looking for more and more and more to add to your cart. Now, these sites operate in a way similar to the addictiveness of social media. If you open fast fashion sites, oftentimes, you’re bombarded with coupons and deals that sweeten your shopping experience and encourage you to buy more. I mean, if you’re familiar with Shein, their app even gives incentives for “checking in” daily. Who should be looking at an online shopping app every day? No one. But when an app gives you points that you can use toward purchase just for looking at more items, there’s no mistaking what the app designers really wanted out of that: you to buy more crap.
Not to mention, yes, a lot of what these fast fashion sites sell is crap. Okay, I know we all strike gold sometimes and end up finding a new favorite, but a lot of what I’ve ordered from Shein and places like it have turned out to be, well, unsurprisingly bad. I’m not sure how many shirts there are on Shein that would actually hide someone’s nipples if they didn’t want to wear a bra, let’s put it that way. But these poor textiles aren’t only disappointing for the consumer when they get their haul in the mail, but the over-production and constant production of cheap styles is HORRIBLE for the environment.
I won’t get into the specifics of the environmental damages the fast fashion industry causes, but if you’re interested in learning more, I recommend checking out this video. Though with shipping, cheap textiles and overproduction of soon to be “out” styles, landfills are overflowing with unwanted, old, or ripped clothing items.
On top of the environmental problems that come with fast fashion stores like Shein, there are also worlds of human rights problems that arise with these companies– and they do as much as they can to hide that from the consumer. The reality is, though, that these items are made in countries where the company can get away with hiring cheap labor in horrible conditions. This video is super informative on the human rights violations fast fashion brands are guilty of.
Yup, there really is no winning with fast fashion. If you are caught in the cycle of scrolling and clicking “add to cart” like I was, you don’t have to sacrifice your style if you choose to stop supporting fast fashion companies. In fact, there are a lot of much cooler (and much more ethical) ways to be fashionable for cheap. Thrifting is a no-brainer! It’s inexpensive, second-hand, and I’ve found some of my FAVORITE clothing items from thrift stores. Honestly, the gratification is so much better than online shopping when I strike gold in a thrift store. If you’re looking for the best thrift stores in your area, check out this article!
Another super fun alternative to fast fashion is updating the clothes that are already in your closet to current styles or personalizing items in a way that give them a new life. For ideas of ways to update your landfill-bound fast fashion items, give this article a read!
Finally, if you are buying new clothes, I would recommend supporting brands that are dedicated to environmentalism and sourcing and producing its materials responsibly. While this will generally make items more expensive, they usually will be more timeless and better quality– so it’ll most likely stick around in your closet for a while.
Is Shein a bad company? Let us know what you think in the comments!