The China-based fast-fashion retailer Shein has been valued at over $100 billion, according to WSJ. This makes the brand one of the most valuable private companies in the world and it is now worth more than both H&M and Zara combined.
Founded in 2008, the solely online retailer has become increasingly popular, famous for offering dupes of high end clothing products at cheap prices.
Shein became particularly popular during lockdown in 2020, with apps such as TikTok and Instagram flooded with hauls from the brand and influencers promoting their products, offering discount codes and recommendations.
Not only does the retailer offer clothes for women, men, and children, but more recently they have branched out into beauty, home, electronics and stationary.
However, producing garments this cheaply has not come without questions of ethics. Shein has been heavily criticised for their production of fast fashion and how their garments are made, as they are known for heavily using plastic and petrochemicals. It’s not just the environmental impacts of the garments Shein produces that has been criticised, but also the treatment of its workers.
In a report by Swiss advocacy group Public Eye, a number of staff working for the retailer were found to be working 75-hour weeks and were paid per item of clothing produced, encouraging faster turnover and longer hours.
Whilst famous for their cheap dupes, Shein has also been called out by numerous other brands, particularly small businesses, who believe that the brand is ripping off and stealing designs from them.
Looking to the future, Morgan Stanley predicts that Shein could make $20 billion in revenue in this year alone, which would make it the fourth largest apparel company in the world by sales.
Words: Lucy Brown