Although we've established that it's safe to shop with Shein, that doesn't necessarily mean that it always operates in a trustworthy manner.
There is a lot of controversy around many of the platform's designs with small designers and labels claiming that Shein has stolen parts of their design. In some cases, these claims extend to stating that Shein has completely copied their work. We're not legal experts dealing with these specific cases, so we'll refrain from commenting on the validity of these statements. We will acknowledge, however, that this seems to be an issue throughout the entirety of the fast fashion industry.
If you'd like to be sure that the designer of your clothing is getting proper recognition and compensation for their work, we suggest shopping from Shein's collaboration ranges as these highlight the original artist. You'll be able to find these ranges fairly easily on the platform, as they're usually labelled "Shein X [collaborating designer]". We’ve also noticed that collaboration ranges tend to be better quality than most Shein products, so you tend to get better bang for your buck, plus the satisfaction of knowing the original artist is getting compensation.
It’s also important to note that the cheap prices Shein offers come at an ethical cost. There are multiple reports (denied by Shein) of poor working conditions in their facilities, including excessive working hours and below-standard pay. Environmentally speaking, the brand falls significantly short of any sustainability efforts, emitting an estimated 6.3 million tonnes of CO2 each year. Plus, the sheer amount of items produced by Shein each year drives overconsumption and inevitably results in more clothing going to landfill.