SHEIN’s Fast Fashion Empire


SHEIN changes prices constantly and these sales and price drops incentivize people to buy from SHEIN. From SHEIN’s website.

SHEIN is one of the world’s most popular fashion sites, and also one of the most problematic. The Chinese-based company is known for its highly corrupt, unethical business enterprise: creating and selling cheap, unsustainable, and frankly illegal fashion. 

SHEIN’S footprint stalks around Boulder High, with most girls at our school owning at least one item from the notorious brand. Maddison Pitkethly ‘25 says she has bought items from SHEIN, “it wasn’t that bad, a little itchy.”

SHEIN’s hold on young people is very concerning, due to its abundance at our school and in our generation, considering their use of exceptionally unethical labor. The Cut says, “The reported hours and working conditions [at SHEIN manufacturing facilities] violate China’s labor laws.” China’s labor laws include a 40-hour workweek and an 8-hour workday.

At SHEIN’s packing facility in the city of Foshan, workers also said they worked 12 to 14-hour days and up to 28 days a month” says The Business of Fashion. Foshan is a city in China, where SHEIN workers work under illegal and unethical conditions. 

SHEIN has a long list of immoral practices, including selling “Muslim Prayer mats as ‘Greek Carpets’” Says the BBC in an article published in July 2020.   

Liz Mclaughlin ‘25 is an avid SHEIN-hater and has big opinions on the brand: “It’s destroying our ecosystem because it all piles up in the landfills and oceans,” She continues, “because Kim Kardashian wears a big, fluffy, green sweatshirt and then everyone buys it and then they realize this is the sh***iest thing ever, ‘why’d I buy this?’ and they throw it away and it kills our planet.” Clearly, there are people who care about this, people who want change. 

Greenpeace, Germany shares its negative opinion on the brand, “SHEIN’s careless attitude towards environmental and human health risks associated with the use of hazardous chemicals, in pursuit of profit.”

According to Greenpeace, “…every second a truckload of textiles ends up in landfills or is incinerated.” The sheer amount of waste produced by clothing brands like SHEIN is creating a wasteful, unhealthy world. 

One pro of buying clothes from SHEIN is the price: the average cost of an item of clothing from SHEIN is about 10 dollars. Clothes are expensive, and it’s hard to buy affordable clothes that are also sustainable. Brands like Pact are sustainable yet not exactly affordable for most teenagers. 

Despite these pros, we must fight against unethical brands like SHEIN that create an unhealthy, unsafe work environment to create a more sustainable, safe world. We must support brands that save our environment and don’t produce their clothes in sweatshops. 

Sustainable and ethical brands are expensive and it’s often hard to purchase clothes from brands like this. Other options you can use to stay sustainable and reduce your carbon footprint are thrifting, making your own clothes and wearing hand-me-downs. We all have to do our part, and here at Boulder High, it starts with you.