What’s Going On With Shein

Giuliana Carmosino

One of SHEIN’s Factories


If you are familiar with social media platforms as well as online shopping, then you may have heard of SHEIN. SHEIN is highly popular for its fast shopping ability, and for its dirty cheap prices. SHEIN is an online shopping platform that has been known to have a bad reputation recently. They have been rumored to run their corporation like a sweatshop, by overworking and underpaying staff. More recently, they have been accused of selling lead based clothing. Lead in clothes is highly toxic and shown to cause permanent brain damage, kidney and liver damage, reproductive issues and more severe health issues. All of these allegations have seemingly sent SHEIN into a very poor category of online shopping and SHEIN has seemingly lost many of its customers. Let’s take a closer look at some of these allegations.


Child Labor Issues?

SHEIN website says it “never ever engage[s] in child or forced labor”. But again, SHEIN has not provided a single shred of evidence to support that claim, which has many customers questioning if it is even ethical to buy clothes from this website anymore due to this awful accusation of child forced labor. In 2021, a report from the NGO Public Eye revealed SHEIN’s workers putting in as many as 75 hours a week, receiving only one day off per month, and being paid per item of clothing. That’s all in gross violation of labor laws. Since SHEIN is shown all over social media sites such as TikTok and Instagram for their cheap prices and seemingly “fashionable” clothing that keeps up with all the latest trends. Their shortcomings have also been shown all over social media. The main one that has been showing up is the clothing tag scandal. Many have shown videos of SHEIN packages that show on the tags words plastered all over it saying “HELP ME,” and “NEED YOUR HELP.” These are the videos that have truly started to show the harsh scandals of SHEIN, and what have really begun to turn people off of this brand altogether.


Lead In Clothing

Along with having accusations about child labor, and violations of child labor laws, SHEIN has also been accused of having lead in their clothing. Lead in clothing has been linked to causing brain damage, kidney and liver damage along with reproductive issues, due to the high toxicity level that is in lead. SHEIN is a Chinese fashion brand that has had a long history of environmental issues. As of August 2022, SHEIN has been accused of not only having lead in the clothing but having highly unhealthy levels of lead in some of their products. An investigation done in 2021, by a curious Canadian consumer discovered elevated levels of lead and many other potentially hazardous chemicals in many of SHEIN’s products that are being sold to consumers daily. As a result of this, SHEIN stated to “cut ties with third-party vendors that helped make them, and conduct chemical safety tests on its products.” Although there have been all of these allegations, there is not enough evidence to ascertain whether this investigation found a great deal of SHEIN’s inventory to have lead problems, or if it was just a handful of accessories and clothing, they also do not know if SHEIN has truly eliminated these products from its website and made it off limits to consumers.

SHEIN has been a very popular name in recent months, and not for the best reasons. Throughout all of these allegations including the child labor laws being potentially broken, poor working conditions, as well as the possible toxicity of some of their products due to lead in the clothing, would you still shop at SHEIN? Or would you cut it out completely for more humane business practices?