What’s up with Shein?

Whats up with Shein?

Abby Tito

Many students here at Lakota West are familiar with and sometimes shop, Shein.  Shein is a Chinese, billion-dollar company. In 2020 alone, Shein made about 10 billion dollars.  Shein is popular, trendy, and most importantly, it’s cheap.  A person could get a corduroy dress for 17 dollars from Shein that costs 30 dollars from Amazon.  But is cheapness worth giving up ethical morals?

Shein has faced multiple controversial incidents.  One of those being the use of child labor in their factories.  When confronted with this, Shein immediately denied the allegation.  However, it all depends on the location of their factories.  For instance, A sSein factory could be in Bangladesh.  In Bangladesh, children as young as 14 could be working in factories.  Since the legal age of work, there is 14, Shein can maintain the opinion that they aren’t using Child labor, even if they are.  Although Shein has claimed that, “it never engages in child or forced labor” they refuse to disclose any other information on their workers or their worker’s wages (brightly).

On the more public side, Shein has made some very insensitive products.  In July of 2020, Shein was seen apologizing for trying to sell a Swastika on their website.  Shein tried to justify the company’s decision by claiming it was a Buddhist symbol, which is partly true.  The Swastika was, for thousands of years, a symbol of “good” in Buddhism.  However, after the adoption of the Swastika symbol in the 1930s by Nazi Germany, the once peaceful symbol lost all of its former meaning.  The Swastika is now a symbol of “fear, of suppression, and of extermination.  It’s a symbol that we will never be able to change” (Knoller).  Shein showed a clear insensitivity of the Jewish people and of the millions of lives lost alongside the flying Nazi flags.

This incident isn’t even the first offensive product that Shein has tried to sell.  A few weeks prior to the launch of the Swastika necklace, Shein had tried to sell a rug that closely represented Muslim prayer rugs.  The rugs were decorated with a design like Kaaba, the center of an extremely important Mosque.  Shein again apologized and everyone forgot about their extremely harmful and careless actions.

Shein is a problematic store due to the clear lack of awareness and consideration they have by their promotion of hateful and offensive products.  It’s saddening to be in a society where a company would think anything of the sort would be acceptable.  The immediate backlash forced the store to remove these products, so at least there are other people with common sense.