Shein, a fast fashion company, is being scrutinized for its lack of transparency in the supply chain. This Chinese company is valued at $15 billion and best known for selling cheap online fashion outside of China. It was criticized for falsely claiming that its factories were accredited by the International Organisation for Standardisation and the labour standards organisation SA8000.
Reuters reports that Shein was not certified by either company. Shein quickly removed their mentions from the social responsibility web site.
Shein, a company that sells 15 euro dresses and 3 euros tops made mostly from unethical fibers, has a lot to answer for in terms of where and how it makes its clothes. Under the UK’s 2015 Modern Slavery Act, companies selling more than 36 million pounds per year of goods must make this information public on their websites. It must clearly state how it combats forced labor. Although this information is not currently available, Shein said to Reuters that it is developing a policy text to meet UK website requirements.
“As transparent as a brand can be”
March Good on You, an organization that rates fashion brands on their ethical credentials, stated that Shein is a business to avoid. It also said that Shein was “as opaque a brand as you can get.” It will be difficult to find contact information or details about the supply chain on the website. It is primarily dependent on influencers for marketing, and it appeals to young women with limited budgets.
Shein’s Instagram account has over 21 million followers at the time of this writing. The majority of these are young women wearing the collections. Shein stated that “It is a social responsibility business. The runway is the world. We’re helping the planet to be as beautiful as possible by using sustainable fabrics and practices.”
Random searches for recycled polyester options revealed just one item in men’s bottoms, while 3,600 non-recycled items were found. Its cotton products are mainly made with polyester and have a lack of natural fibres in all of their collections. It is not known if garments are produced under the best policies practices.
If a top that retails for three euro is profitable, somebody or something (our planet) has to suffer and it’s definitely not Shein.