The World of Shein

Nicole Lipman, N+1 magazine:

But both things can be true. SHEIN might be singled out as the worst fast-fashion retailer because the United States fears and envies China and has a particular interest in denigrating its successes, and it might be singled out because it is, in fact, the worst: the greatest polluter, the most flagrant IP thief, the largest violator of human rights, and — arguably worst of all — the most profitable. SHEIN has shown the world that unsustainability pays. Together with the companies that will follow its example of ultra-fast fashion, SHEIN will accelerate the already-rapid acceleration toward global catastrophe.

Consider the volume of critical press coverage, for decades, documenting outrageous practices in any number of consumer industries — fashion, technology, whatever — and then consider how those same industries, and even the same businesses, continue to grow and thrive. We now live in a world of Shein, Temu, and Amazon, all of which are the exact opposite of the values we claim to hold, yet are hugely popular and growing. The worse they are, the more they are rewarded.

See Also: Michael Hobbes’ deep 2016 investigation, for the Huffington Post, about the “myth of the ethical shopper”.