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  • Writer's pictureHope Vista

A 29 Year Old’s Honest Thoughts About SHEIN

I admit - I used to fall heavily into the throes of fast fashion. Sites like FashionNova, and specifically SHEIN make it nearly impossible to avoid, with their specifically curated ads that always seem to pop up on your Facebook feed. I’ll be honest and say that I’ve purchased from SHEIN a handful of times in the past, about 3-4. Their site is incredibly appealing, offering clothing options for everyone in a range of styles, colors, and cuts. With thousands of options, it’s easy to fall into the overall charm. Sites like SHEIN seemingly have everything you’re looking (or hoping) for, and that’s what makes it nimble. But the idea of fast fashion isn’t sustainable, even though it’s usually affordable - and you don’t want to get stuck in its claws.

Cheap, usually made with less-than-quality materials, filled with questionable add-ons (including things like plastic), and abused workers - fast fashion is not where you want to be. I’ll admit something else - I knew nothing about the dark side of fast fashion until I began shopping elsewhere. My last SHEIN order, which contained about 10 items, was mostly trash, and I ended up just donating most of them. Tops are too small and hardly there. Pants feel hard and don’t match the sizing listed on the website. Orders take f o r e v e r to arrive. And most of all, the material of each item feels weird - almost like plastic. There have been a couple of tops from SHEIN that I’ve kept over the last few years, but barely worn, because the material is flimsy and doesn’t hold well, unless paired with something else. Every other item is no longer in my wardrobe - and that’s essentially the point of fast fashion.

Sites like SHEIN aim to constantly crank out content, new items daily, to keep up with the flow of quick trends. When people see a new trend on TikTok or something similar, they need to have it now. SHEIN knows that, and keeps up with the trends themselves. That way, they can quickly make designs and shoot them up on their site in a speedy manner - fast fashion. Trends go out of style eventually though, whether it be quickly or over more time. No matter what, pieces from sites like SHEIN, except for basics (which you can buy anywhere other than SHEIN), are typically no longer trendy after a few wears, or even a few weeks. Their goal isn’t longevity - it’s constant sales.

And here’s the thing - they do have some cute items. Whenever I browse the site (which I still do from time to time, just to see what’s what), I often find myself piling up items in my cart just to see what the total price would be, with no intention of buying. They are always offering impressive sales, making your total a lot cheaper than you anticipated, which is another negative edge to fast fashion. Get your money quickly, sell the clothes, and then push out more. A repetitive, never ending cycle. As long as people keep investing their money into clothes via fast fashion brands, it will be never ending.

Some designs are fine. Some have more longevity than others. But do you want to buy basics from a site like SHEIN, who’s working conditions are abusive and less than safe or ideal? Or would you rather buy quality, long-term basics from a more reputable brand? The goal is for your articles of clothing to last a long time - not just wear for a good time. That’s kind of the motto I’ve inherited when it comes to SHEIN and other fast fashion brands, and also why I began to shift to building a capsule wardrobe last year. It’s overall more sustainable, and longevity is the goal.

I don’t believe that it’s a crime to purchase something from SHEIN or a similar site every once in a while; sometimes they have something that you’ve been genuinely wanting or looking for. But to create a wardrobe entirely out of fast fashion pieces from SHEIN is not feasible, financially and in terms of quality. Fight off the urge when you see those customized ads with the pieces you added to your faux shopping cart - you do not need it.

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