Shein: A Blessing or Nightmare in Disguise

As Shein is returning to the Indian market even though for one day under the Amazon flagship event “Prime Day sale”, let’s talk a little bit more about the brand in itself and as the front runner for fast fashion in general.

Shein was one of the 59 Chinese applications that were banned by the Ministry of IT in 2020. One of the key reasons for its success can be enumerated as a trendy fashion line at an affordable price. This was the main reason the brand was famous among youngsters and new adults. The brand lets them indulge in the desire to keep up with the trendy new fashion without burning a hole in the pockets of its consumers. It gave its audience the best of both worlds- the Balance.

Source-@ILO

But even though on the surface it looks clean and shiny, there always had some red flags going on for them. One of the main critical points was that it was encouraging overconsumption of clothing that doesn’t last and isn’t easily recyclable. Also, it is allegedly, Shein is one of the fast fashion brands that employ laborers from developing countries in legally non-compliant conditions. These people operate in hazardous working conditions that are constantly exposed to poor quality materials and chemicals that result in affecting health in the long run, this all happens at a cost that is below the minimum living wage. Another alleged culprit after big brands like Zara.

Did you know approximately 800 million garments are produced each year and on average, we only wear garments 7 times before getting rid of them? The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world just after the oil industry. And the environmental damage is increasing as the industry grows. The fashion industry is responsible for about 10% of global carbon emissions and nearly 20% of wastewater. The fashion industry is a major water consumer. A huge quantity of freshwater is used for the dyeing and finishing process for all of our clothes. As a reference, it can take up to 200 tons of fresh water per ton of dyed fabric. And fast fashion dominates this tally.

But then what is the point in knowing all these problems if we have no solution to them. The whole fast fashion industry is thriving on the fact that it is a mass producer of clothing that uses cheap quality products. That is the whole point of the industry, we can’t take that away from it. And also let’s not ignore the satisfaction it provides to middle-class consumers, trendy clothing at low prices. Then what to do next? The desire to opt for such products is understandable but remember to make a conscious choice and not buy products that you don’t need just because they are offered at a low price.

Rather than throwing away old clothes donate them. Keep an eye on your washing. Sounds weird but it is rather helpful. Washing our clothes has a significant environmental impact. The average household does almost 400 loads of laundry every year, consuming about 60,000 liters of water. It also takes a lot of energy to heat the washing water and run the drying cycle.

Now you know the problem and some reasonable solutions. The only question that remains is will we ever switch to being conscious consumers?

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