Business model

Shein’s formidable business model through worker exploitation

Shein is the world’s largest fast fashion company, earning billions a year but still employing workers in China for pennies each.

Employees are forced to work around 75 hours a day with only two days off for the whole month. A Public Eye article talks about the exploitation of workers in Shien.

“According to Chinese labor law, a working week may exceed 40 hours, but overtime may not exceed 36 hours per month, and workers must have at least one day off per week,” the article said. Public Eye.

Every worker in Nancun Village works without a contract, even though they are legally required to work, for three yen an hour (47 cents in US currency).

The typical workday for an employee at a Shein factory is 11-14 hours a day with no insurance, no overtime bonuses, and very hard-working management.

Seamstresses must be able to quickly follow different complex designs or they risk being fired, which is why only experienced workers in Shien.

These types of businesses are everywhere however, Shein is just one example.

There are other well-known brands like H&M, Zara, Forever 21 and Victoria’s Secret to name a few, so basically anything you find in a mall.

Shedding light on the exploitation of workers just for fast product turnover is important to start changing the biggest flaws of this saturated industry.

There are two ways to fight fast fashion.

To fight against fast fashion, you can boycott fast fashion and warn others about the dangers of fast fashion.

There are options to buy made-in-the-USA apparel that uses healthy labor practices at a higher price but higher quality.

American Apparel, Los Angeles Apparel, Levis, Converse, and Patagonia are all examples of US-based or sustainable apparel companies.

Another option is to shop at thrift stores, swap markets, garage sales or thrift stores. Shopping at a thrift store or a swap meet is exciting because there are so many different styles of clothing in one place.

People always buy Shein’s clothes because their clothes are up to date with fashion trends.

The truth is that people won’t care enough about the exploitation of Shein workers and will continue to buy their clothes. Places like Shein are too convenient for people to stop shopping.

Completely preventing people from shopping in these places will be next to impossible unless the whole industry collapses.

By encouraging alternative ways to buy clothes, people who would usually buy from Shein can be guided in that direction.

Once people realize that second-hand shopping can be more affordable and of higher quality, we can start changing the fashion industry fast.

Raising awareness about these poor workers and terrible companies is an easy way to work towards a more sustainable fashion climate.

Tell a friend about fast fashion, buy used and try to be durable every chance you get!