Shein and its Effects on the Environment and Fashion World

Shein and its Effects on the Environment and Fashion World

What is Shein?

Shein is a fast fashion online clothing brand which is best known for its cheap prices and vast selection of clothing that is easily available to users. The convenience and accessibility that Shein delivers has made it gain popularity in the past few years. It has been deemed a great site for low prices and many designs to choose from. Everything I’ve told you so far must sound pretty great, but once you start looking in the the fine lines and little cracks it really isn’t all that great. 

Environmental issues with Shein

Shein is fast fashion. If you don’t know what that means, it is very large amounts of clothing being rapidly produced at very cheap manufacturing prices due to the use of cheap material and unfair labor, which we’ll get into later. For now, let’s focus on the environmental impact Shein has. Fast fashion is mass produced; cheap and trendy (at the time) fashion that can do horrible things to the environment and Shein is at the forefront of this mess. These clothes are usually trendy and not really timeless pieces, which means a lot of these clothes end up in landfills once we go the trends change, which causes the cycle to be repeated. That’s just landfills. Fast fashion uses insanely massive amounts of water and energy, as well as emitting greenhouse gasses. The fashion industry alone is currently responsible for emitting more carbon than all international flights going on at this time. Now imagine just how much harm fast fashion is doing off of those stats. Every kilogram of fiber that is used for clothing takes about 100-150 liters of water, and Shein releases about 6,000 new designs everyday! That’s around 150,000 liters of water used every single day for clothing that will just be dumped in a landfill a few months later.


How Shein is Ruining the Fashion World

In 2021 there was a reported 43.7 million users on Shein. Due to how affordable and dangerously easy it is to buy from Shein, it has slowly been consuming the fashion world. So many people have been adjusted to these unnatural prices which are only obtained from being cheaply made. With unfair wages for the workers who actually make the pieces, that they have stopped shopping at either smaller businesses or simply just well made clothing just because of the reasonable pricing. People have been spoiled with these unrealistic prices that so many people have completely switched over to fast fashion, especially Shein. This can cause smaller businesses to completely go bankrupt. Shein has also been known to steal designs from artists who never get credit, overshadowing artists’ work and driving the customers to Sheins instead of small businesses. There were many reports of unsustainable working environments for the workers making these clothing. I’ll leave a link here if you’d like to dive deeper into the conspiracy:

How to shop more sustainably

I’d start with your local thrift store for used clothes instead of buying fast fashion. Thrifting can open up a world of great used clothing that can also be timeless. Not buying fast fashion brings us a step closer to stopping fast fashion from completely consuming innovative, creative quality products that come out of the fashion world and improving the wellbeing of our planet’s environment.