The faster the fashion the faster the controversy

Written by: Taylor Duff | Freelancer

Fast fashion populates many people’s homes and lifestyles, making familiar fashion brands such as Nike, H&M, and the cheapest on the market, Shein, extremely popular. 

The brand has become highly desired on the internet because of the thousands of influencers who participate in showing clothing hauls — to sway customers to make mass purchases of items due to their impossible-to-beat prices. The prices of clothing on Shein are just a fraction of what all other clothing brands charge — making over-consumerism undeniable. 

Shein is an internet-based retailer in Nanjing, China that was founded in 2008. Due to the rise of social media, Shein became an overwhelming success in 2020. As popular as the company is, Shein has been followed by much controversy throughout its standing.

One example of this is speculation on whether or not the company properly pays its employees or that its employees are being subjected to rigorous hours — also known as forced labor. 

With the mass amount of clothing being produced, and trends changing constantly, it’s hard for many consumers to believe that clothing items can be made and shipped promptly without constant movement. 

Another complaint with fast fashion, with Shein at the core of the debate, is that, because of the large consumerism especially with social media influencers, a lot of this clothing is contributing to landfill pollution. Many fast fashion companies, like Shein, have been accused of burning their unused clothing to keep up with seasonal trend demands for new and more sought-after pieces. 

Many high-end brands such as Ralph Lauren and Doc Martens have sued Shein for copyright infringement, saying that Shein has stolen ideas and designs, making their products closely resemble the higher-end brands. From a consumer perspective of those who can’t afford the higher-end prices, Shein could be a great alternative.  

Many fast fashion companies face similar charges and many brand owners and designers have sued. Similarly, Shein has racked up many lawsuits — many of which are ongoing. 

Another company that is receiving controversy, and, not surprisingly, competes with Shein, is Temu. Temu is another online retailer that has been accused of collecting user information to track trends and personal information. 

Temu does what Shein and many other brands do and makes faster, cheaper products to sell at a massive scale and sway consumers to purchase more. These are allegations many online marketplaces have received. 

Overall, being aware of spending habits and the quality of clothing, as well as how much is being bought, is important because it contributes to how much is being produced. People purchase clothing and dispose of it just as fast. It makes perfect sense to get the quickest and cheapest fashion possible for the same styles the high-end brands are producing. 

Finding more efficient and safe ways to donate and recycle is important. Just being aware is all the better; purchasing affordable clothing is a wise choice, but spend wisely and help save the planet. 

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