Whether y’all spend time on social media or shop for your attire online, you’ve likely come up across a fast fashion brand. Frequently, these brand’south sites and ads feature enticing images of on-trend habiliment and accessories, and avowal incredibly affordable prices, making them seem like an excellent option for your latest wardrobe refresh.
The upshot is, fast manner companies — including Shein, an emerging leader with a massive online and social media presence — aren’t typically operating in a sustainable, eco-friendly, or upstanding way. If you lot’d like to learn more than about the pitfalls of the industry — and what you can practise to help combat fast fashion — here’s what you demand to know.
Fast Fashion: An Industry Congenital on Price Lonely
Fast fashion, also dubbed throwaway manner, is an industry based largely on cost. Nigh manufacturers operating in this niche focus on creating trendy apparel at the lowest possible cost. Then, they position their products as an affordable way to update your wardrobe, ensuring that y’all can go that hot new look without breaking the bank.
While that seems similar a positive on the surface, fast manner comes with some caveats; some of the biggest are concerns regarding sustainability, ethicality and eco-friendliness.
Generally speaking, fast style isn’t concerned about longevity when it comes to your clothing. The industry capitalizes on trends, using cheap materials and garment construction to keep costs low. In the end, you aren’t supposed to hold onto the items for long. Instead, these products are substantially designed to last a season — and so y’all toss them.
Since the business model isn’t concerned about durability, it often burdens the environment. These fast fashion brands create huge amounts of waste product and pollution in improver to using limited resource in an unsustainable manner. According to World.org, studies show that the fashion industry in general is responsible for ten% of our annual global carbon emissions — more than shipping and aviation combined — and the fast fashion model certainly isn’t helping.
There are likewise problems regarding ideals. Often, poor working atmospheric condition and unfair wages are cited equally issues in these manufacturing facilities at big; Shein, in particular, has been constitute guilty of some alarming practices, including “75-hour workweeks, hazardous work environments and other alleged labor law violations,” with their manufacturing sites beingness dubbed “informal workshops”, replete with barred windows and a disturbing lack of emergency exits (via
Just the upstanding issues associated with fast manner extend fifty-fifty across labor rights. Some fast fashion companies, like Shein, blatantly steal designs from independent designers or other big-name clothing brands. For Shein in particular, this also extends to selling culturally appropriated goods — they sold “Muslim prayer mats as home decor with descriptions like ‘Fringe Trim Greek Fret Carpeting’”, reports Refinery29 — and incredibly offensive, anti-Semetic necklaces.
Founded in Nanjing, China, in 2008, Shein is a relatively new entrant into the fast mode industry. Yet, the company’due south arroyo allowed it to scoop upwardly an enormous market share with shocking speed. In May of 2021, Shein became the most downloaded shopping app in the U.Due south., surpassing retail behemoth Amazon. At present, with an average of 7 million users per month, Shein boasts a staggering $100 billion valuation — more than Zara and H&G combined. So, how did the make manage this impressive feat?
First, Shein is a directly-to-consumer shopping website. Unlike some other fast fashion brands, in that location aren’t any brick-and-mortar stores, eliminating potential overhead expenses, including the size of the company’s workforce. 2nd, Shein worked to make the most of social media and other forms of digital advertising. As a fast mode retailer, its target market is typically teens and younger adults. Currently, that means targeting Gen Z, a digital-native generation.
By focusing on the digital space, Shein gained traction with its target market quite quickly. Forth with the company’s slew of ads, social media users became an advertising powerhouse for the company, posting photos and videos of their affordable “clothing hauls” on YouTube and TikTok. In fact, these booty videos, accompanied with Shein-related hashtags, accept become a viral trend that backs up the fact that 83% of people trust advice from friends and family unit — and influencers who they feel they know. Needless to say, people began flocking to the site equally discussion (and videos) spread.
Now, this alone doesn’t make Shein seem like an outcome. That’s particularly truthful since the visitor openly publishes a Supplier Code of Conduct that appears to address many of the environmental pitfalls associated with fast style.
All the same, any assertions are generally vague, and in that location isn’t any proof that the visitor’s manufacturing partners really abide by these standards. Plus, local environmental protection laws aren’t very stringent in many parts of the world, giving manufacturers a way to shirk sustainability and accountability.
And there’due south all those ethical questions, relating to fair wages and safe working conditions equally well as the theft of designs and fine art from competitors and artists. One investigation even showed that Shein products contain potentially harmful materials, including atomic number 82, phthalates, and other chemicals. So, while the company’s growth may exist impressive, a lot of the other stories swirling around it are not then beauteous.
Shein Article of clothing Is a Trouble, But Information technology’s Not Alone
In many ways, Shein is a leading example of fast fashion due to its quick rise and trend-chasing tactics. However, Shein isn’t the simply company operating with those guiding principles and priorities — and it certainly isn’t the merely company pulling in large profits with the fast fashion model.
Retailers like Zara, ASOS, Forever 21, H&M, and Topshop all fall within this category. The brands create trendy looks for securely discounted prices and rely on production approaches and materials that aren’t meant to stand the examination of time. Essentially, the clothing they’re offering is viewed as dispensable, even if throwing the products out and producing new lines of apparel is harmful to the environment.
How Tin You Gainsay the Rise of Fast Fashion Like Shein Clothing?
As yous might await, the first step to combating the rising of fast fashion is to avoid purchasing from the brands mentioned above. Endeavour discussing the pitfalls of this manufacture with family unit and friends, besides; many people merely aren’t unaware of the ethical and environmental harms associated with fast fashion brands.
We also recommend shopping wisely by purchasing fewer habiliment items and focusing on quality and sustainability. Choosing timeless pieces that are designed to last — and favoring eco-friendly, responsibly-sourced — materials makes a difference.
If y’all need trendy attire for a special upshot, renting instead of ownership tin can brand a difference. Similarly, donating gently-used clothing, instead of throwing it away, can help. If you’re a crafty person, try repairing items that are showing some wear. And, fifty-fifty if y’all aren’t an avid sower, reattaching buttons, putting in new zippers and adding patches isn’t as difficult as y’all might think.
Even if a piece isn’t repairable, that doesn’t mean the material tin’t become a 2d life. Repurposing items by turning them into scarves, bags, or other goods still keeps the materials out of landfills.
How to Shop for Affordable Vesture Without Turning to Fast Way
Finding affordable attire without turning to fast fashion is doable if y’all use the right approach. Although y’all may view more expensive brands as a “splurge”, turning to high-quality brands that use ethical and environmentally-friendly practices is a wise option in the long run. Perchance you can’t pull in a huge haul in one shopping trip, only you can add together a few new pieces to your wardrobe every now and so. By shopping sales and clearance racks, and focusing on timeless attire along the way, you’ll buy article of clothing you can use for years — if non decades.
Shopping 2d-hand is another style to keep costs down without turning to fast mode. Thrift stores, consignment shops, yard sales and 2nd-hand online retailers (eBay, Depop and thredUP, for starters) can all aid yous access reputable brands without breaking the bank. Not only does this make your clothing shopping experience more affordable and sustainable, just this approach allows you lot to create your own fashion and develop looks that are uniquely yours.