In the world of sustainable fashion, the brand Shein is the epitome of fast fashion, unfair wages and overconsumption of garments. Founded in 2008, Shein churns out between 500 and 2,000 new clothing items on the website each day. Some items sold are the equivalent price to a chocolate bar, which encourages customers to purchase more and more than they need, just because they can.
Shein is all about keeping up with the trends, so now sustainable fashion is becoming more popular, Shein wants to be a part of the movement. Introducing Shein’s new line of garments: EvoluSHEIN, i.e. one of the greatest greenwashing scandals we have ever seen. Greenwashing is the act of making your products or services appear to be more ethical and sustainable than they actually are. Click here to read our full article about harmful greenwashing claims.
EvoluSHIEN is Shein’s first ‘sustainable’ clothing collection. According to the brand, this is “a purpose-driven collection with a positive vision for the future.” On their website, they have stated that these garments are made from recycled materials, sent to customers in 100% recycled packaging. Furthermore, shopping with EvoluSHEIN will support Vital Voices, a charity empowering women around the world. From a customer’s perspective, these claims present Shein as a brand striving towards change in the fashion industry. However, in reality, these statements are being made by one of the fashion industry’s worst offenders.
Greenwashing claims are all about making statements, without not giving customers enough concrete information about how these are being followed through. For example, EvoluSHEIN will support Vital Voices, great. What percentage of their profits are being given to this charity? What goal do they aim to reach this charity to? Shein could have included images of the work being done by Vital Voices, to make the charity more real for customers.
Using recycled materials is far better than using new materials. However, even though this material has been recycled, is it a conscious and responsible material in the first place? Furthermore, how can Shein mass-produce items from recycled materials? Surely their surplus of recycled materials will eventually run out, as their sales are exponential.
Even with claims about being involved with charity work and using recycled materials, their garments are still being produced in the same factories by the same workers. According to the BBC, Shein workers in the Guangzhou-based factories work 75-hour weeks, which will not change when they are making EvoluSHEIN products. Therefore, the EvoluSHEIN products can and will never be sustainable, as long as Shein mass produces on this scale.