The Dangers of SHEIN

The Dangers of SHEIN

Charisa Russell, Staff Reporter


Fast Fashion is when clothing brands produce new clothes extremely fast to keep up with new fashion trends. Many argue that this practice cheapens the professional value of fashion design, contributes to labor practices, and it causes a negative impact on the environment. Some popular fast fashion companies include Urban Outfitters, Zara, Forever 21, Fashion Nova, GAP, H&M and several others. But, the main fast fashion company that completely took over the fast fashion industry in recent years is SHEIN. 

SHEIN is the largest online retailer in the world, producing between 35,000 and 100,000 new garments every single day. It is a Chinese online fast fashion retailer which quickly became popular thanks to social media. This brand’s items are sold at low prices and made of cheap fabrics to reach more people and to get clothing out faster. This may seem harmless but it’s the complete opposite. SHEIN has repeatedly been criticized for almost everything you can do wrong with a company, including poor working conditions, chemicals in its clothing, and copying designs.

Poor working conditions:

Public Eye

Fast fashion is notorious for using sweatshops which subject workers to horrible conditions and long hours for low pay as well as child labor. states that “SHEIN launched an investigation after the U.K. Channel Four documentary Untold: Inside The SHEIN Machine alleged that workers were subject to 16-hour-long days, got one day off a month, and earned wages of around 4,000 yuan ($572) per month to produce hundreds of garments for the online retailer each day.” There were also accusations floating around the internet regarding child labor laws that gained a lot of attention but, child labor was never confirmed even though there are multiple signs of proof. 

Chemicals in clothing:

Greenpeace Germany tested on 47 SHEIN products and found that seven of them “contained hazardous chemicals that break EU regulations, with five of these products breaking the limits by 100% or more.” These chemicals danger the producers and the consumers. “The EU must enforce its laws to protect the environment and consumers for online retailers as well and tighten REACH significantly,” stated Viola Wohlgemuth, resource protection expert at Greenpeace. Discarded fashion is also piling up in landfills and creating problems around the world and affecting our environment.

Copying designs:

SHEIN has been routinely criticized for copying designs from small independent designers and other brands. SHEIN takes money away from the hard working designers who make the original products by using their designs.

SHEIN-left, Elexiay-right

These designers are not credited or paid for the sales of their own design. This has caused multiple lawsuits and drama in the fashion industry. “Spent hours designing and brainstorming this design and it takes days to crochet each sweater. It’s quite disheartening to see my hard work reduced to a machine made copy,” the designer behind the brand Elexiay voiced on twitter regarding a stolen design.


SHEIN cheapens the value of designs and is dangerous to people and the environment, yet it stays in business. This is a problem that needs to be fixed.