The fight against fast fashion continues as SHEIN boosts revenue and opens 30 stores worldwide – Screen Shot
Deep Dives Level Up Newsletters Saved Articles Challenges

The fight against fast fashion continues as SHEIN boosts revenue and opens 30 stores worldwide

The multi-billion dollar Chinese clothing company, SHEIN has officially announced plans to open 30 stores in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. The notorious fast fashion brand has been on a mission to destroy all hopes for a sustainable fashion future, so yes, it’s time to grab the tissues and open up the floodgates.


Welcome back to another episode of shitty things Shein are doing 🙂 #gcds #morsoheels #giulianocalza #shein #fastfashion #designtheft

♬ original sound - Scott Staniland

In the past, SHEIN has hosted pop-up shops across the UK, including places like Birmingham, Cardiff, and Bristol. Now, with its UK headquarters in Dublin, Irish city Cork has also fallen victim to SHEIN’s crimes. Shoppers hit the streets and queued for over four hours to gain access to the pink-clad storefront hoping to avoid the two week delivery wait from the brand’s website.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by SHEIN Ireland (@sheinireland_)

Sadly, the label shows no signs of slowing down—it’s called fast fashion for a reason. Business of Fashion recently reported that despite SHEIN’s value falling by almost $40 billion dollars from $100 billion in the last year, revenue is still expected to grow by 40 per cent in 2023.

This should come as no surprise as, similarly to elder cousin PrettyLittleThing (PLT), SHEIN has been accused of overworking and underpaying its workers. Channel 4 went undercover to find out just how badly SHEIN was treating its workers, concluding that workers were paid 4,000 yuan (£457) to make 500 pieces of clothing a day. Working 18-hour days with only one day off a month and facing salary cuts for their errors—makes jumping on the tube for the morning commute after a bank holiday weekend look easy.

Launched in 2008, SHEIN employs a polarising fast fashion model, much like its competitors PLT and Boohoo. By constantly producing new collections at low cost and quality, the brand is continuously renewing stock, attracting new customers as well as providing SHEIN-fiends with an incentive to revisit its site.

Named the most popular brand of 2022 and Google’s most searched for label (according to Vogue), why is SHEIN so popular despite the current climate crisis?

In a cost of living crisis, the smaller price tags are attractive. A lot of the time, shopping sustainably is a privilege exclusive to the wealthy. Small independent brands are inherently more expensive because they have smaller teams, manufacturing takes longer and uses more sustainable, costly fabrics. However, this doesn’t mean that those who aren’t raking in millions want to miss out on the latest trends, so they’ll often turn to SHEIN for far less spenny dupes.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Diet Prada ™ (@diet_prada)

SHEIN was one of the few beneficiaries of the COVID 19 pandemic, raking in $10 billion in revenue in 2020 alone. Naturally, to combat lockdown boredom, TikTokers would share SHEIN hauls promoting unnecessary over-consumption. Two years later, and those countless hauls (containing bundles of unloved clothes) have now ended up on charity shop racks or worse, the local landfill.


😍😍 #haulshein #shein #haul2023 #outfitshein #totallook

♬ People - Libianca

With SHEIN stores opening worldwide, the fast fashion empire continues to grow—and so does the threat it poses to our environment. Rather than using TikTok to share excessive hauls, let’s call out SHEIN and its peers to change how they operate. It’s not a SHEIN versus Depop girlies situation, it’s about uniting to tackle the climate crisis and standing up for underpaid workers.

PrettyLittleThing scrambles to save its already poor reputation after insensitive Eid collection

Fast fashion brands, just like many other companies, profit massively off of big holidays. While at Christmas, we scramble for a last minute jumper, on New Year’s Eve, our outfits leave a trail of glitter as we chaotically enter the new year. Heck, some fashion labels are even promoting coronation dressing now.

But, if we had to crown one specific brand for just how exploitative and ruthless it is in its money chase, it has to be the infamous PrettyLittleThing (PLT), who, in the run-up to the Muslim Eid festival (which marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan), has been heavily criticised online for its so-called “Eid edit” collection.

Before we dive into the many issues netizens and Muslim shoppers alike have pointed out regarding PLT’s poor attempt at modest fashion, it’s important we highlight what the values that Eid is based on. 

Eid is a major Islamic festival celebrated by Muslims all over the world at the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting and spiritual reflection. For the religious holiday, Muslim families come together for a great celebratory feast, while also making donations to those less fortunate.

The festival is also considered an opportunity for Muslims to reconnect with their faith. To reflect their religious beliefs, many Muslims dress modestly—a key point that was completely ignored by PrettyLittleThing.

Despite the brand having the same 24 hours in a day as fast fashion fiend and longtime PrettyLittleThing collaborator Molly-Mae Hague, Muslim gen Zers were quick to point out how rushed, poorly researched and simply ignorant its take on Eid is.

Dresses that seem modest at first have provocative hidden cut-outs or shorter-than-short hemlines. In other instances, PLT hasn’t even attempted to hide its disrespect as low cut necklines and sheer dresses dominate.

After receiving much deserved criticism across social media, PrettyLittleThing removed 47 items from its curation, leaving only 189, most of which are beauty-related as opposed to actual clothing.

When approached by the BBC for a comment on the latest controversy, the company claimed that the collection was created with the intent of layering rather than stand alone items. Is it just us or does this scream PR damage control?

Unsurprisingly, PLT isn’t the most ideal brand when it comes to finding Eid-appropriate outfits, or any holiday for that matter. With the rise of fast fashion brands like PrettyLittleThing, Missguided, ASOS and Boohoo, we as a society experienced a mammoth uptake in clothes that only had a one-day lifespan. Edits like this promote single-use purchases for one specific event rather than turning to something you already have, renting or shopping second-hand.

Such consumer habits are the result of money-making schemes from men in suits. Fast fashion inherently favours profits over environmental impact. PLT is often described as the ‘throwaway brand’, producing poor quality clothes that break easily or, in some cases, aren’t even wearable.

Anyone remember the warehouse bug infestation that led to pest control being called after Molly-Mae wannabees found critters crawling in their clothes? One-off shopping and disposable drip are single-handedly destroying our planet, and PrettyLittleThing is not planning on doing anything about it anytime soon.

Shortly after the disastrous Eid edit, news broke that PLT’s CEO, Umar Kamani, would be stepping down. Under the 35-year-old’s leadership, factory workers, predominantly from less economically developed countries, were continuously exploited and paid a mere £3.50 an hour. Yes, that definitely makes for a “truly inspirational leader.” The company’s words, not ours…


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by PrettyLittleThing (@prettylittlething)

As the rivalry between sustainable and fast fashion continues, we can only hope that such a dramatic shift in leadership will mark the beginning of the end for one of this vicious cycle’s most notable criminals.