Shein Hauls are destroying the planet.
The fast fashion industry has a lot to say for itself in today's climate. With the planet being at near breaking point and the mass production of fashion not slowing down, it's time for us, as consumers, to make a change. The TikTok boom has lead to an increase in the popularity of fast fashion company Shein, which is now the most mentioned company on the Gen Z focused app (we're rolling our eyes too).
What is fast fashion, anyway?
Fast fashion is a highly profitable and exploitative business model based on replicating catwalk trends and high fashion designs. It's easy to see why Shein has blown up, you can build an entire wardrobe for the price of dinner and drinks, but at what cost?
Fast fashion is known for using sweatshops that involve poor working conditions all around for employees. In fact, one of Shein's main competitors in the fast fashion space, Fashion Nova has been exposed for using underpaid labour in LA factories. It's been reported that some garment workers were paid as little as $2.77 an hour, a huge fall below minimum wage. But with the environmental impact looming over their name, Shein has kept their labour practices to themselves.
On Shein's website, they claim to support "fair pay for all" and give "wages and benefits above the industry average," yet leave any in-depth information out of the question. This lack of information regarding Shein's factories' and employees working conditions could speak volumes, they are also yet to provide supply chain transparency to both their stakeholders and consumers. Could this lack of specifics and examples of their "fair labour" mean there's more to Shein's behind the scenes?
The impact of Shein hauls on the planet
Unless you've been living under a rock, it's likely you've seen at least one £500 Shein haul. We'll paint a picture for you; A Shein haul is simply an influencer showing a mountain of individually packaged garments that are purchased at just a fraction of other retailers' prices.
Shein is the most popular emerging fashion retailer in the UK with over 6.5 million in search volume. The fast fashion company adds between 700 to 1,000 new items to their website each day, yep, you read that right, a day! This constant mass production of products and insanely low prices are capturing consumers all over the world and enticing them into the cycle of throw away fashion.
When individual items are so cheap, it almost denotes them as single-use items which implies that they sell disposable clothing. Not only does Shein choose to not disclose any information regarding their carbon footprint or use of hazardous chemicals, but they also claim to practice small batch production whilst admitting to engaging in large-scale production of popular items...we're confused.
The fast fashion giant also claims to use recycled materials where possible which sounds great, but there is still a lack of transparency that makes us wonder if these statements are true and what they actually mean. The vast majority of their clothing is made of virgin synthetics like polyester; recycled or not, polyester is one of the worst synthetic materials for the environment due to the micro-plastics that are shed upon washing. These microplastics are then flushed back into the ocean and are destroying the planet's sea life. Greenwashing at its finest.
Fast fashion companies like Shein seem to preach a lot about their environmentally friendly practices yet still sends all their garments in individually wrapped plastic zip-top bags. With thousands and thousands of items being shipped out daily, that's an insane amount of single-use plastic being sent to landfills. The majority of their packages are also sent out from their warehouses in China, creating a rather giant carbon footprint on their behalf.
But #Sheincares, right?
If you've spent any amount of time on the TikTok app recently, you might have seen #sheincares. You could call it being environmentally friendly or you could call it greenwashing in plain sight; when you make the connection between their business model and what commonly comes with the fast fashion industry, it's likely to be the latter.
With over 23.3 billion views, #Sheincares is a sponsored hashtag that promotes animal welfare and the protection of animals. Of course, this is a great message to promote but when you're the most popular company in the second most polluting industry, it's easy to see that #Sheincares is simply a marketing sham.
Does a company really care about animals if it's contributing massively to the destruction of the very planet they live on? We'll let you decide that one.
Why it's time to slow down
At Eartheia we're here for outfit repeating, conscious consumerism and sustainable garments. We believe it's time to slow down, stop being victims of constant trend cycles and lower our impact on the planet. With the fast fashion industry being the second most harmful and profitable in the world, the constant consumption of cheap, low-quality products is painfully unsustainable.
As consumers, we have the choice to put our money elsewhere, to shop non-seasonally from truly sustainable brands that are striving to make a difference within the industry.Together, we can reduce the lasting effects of fast fashion and create a healthier and more sustainable fashion industry.
Shop our sustainable clothing line
From October 1st, you can shop our sustainable, vegan certified and greenwashing free clothing line. Keep your eyes peeled on our socials @eartheiacom for all the updates!
We'll see you there. For now, you can shop our certified vegan fashion and cosmetics from some of our favourite trusted brands. Happy shopping!
That's it. That's the article. It's time for us to stop succumbing to the pressure of these fast fashion giants and seek out sustainable garments for the sake of our planet.