Fast Fashion Resale Apps: Too Little Too Late?

By Nell Richmond-Tanner

Fast fashion company Shein follows in Pretty Little Thing’s footsteps, piloting their new resale app – Shein Exchange. The new platform has been launched in the U.S and will allow customers to sell and buy used Shein clothing. 

Adam Whinston, global head of ESG for the business has said: “At Shein, we believe that it is our responsibility to build a future of fashion that is equitable for all, while also accelerating solutions to reduce textile waste.”

Shein was in the news earlier this week after a documentary exposed exploitative working conditions in their factories, so this news could be seen as a step in the right direction for the business. However, the launch has also garnered criticism for its apparent greenwashing.

Reselling is not a drastic enough change to reduce the environmental harm that fast-fashion companies have made. Pretty Little Thing has been subject to the very same accusations after they launched their resale app in August. The fashion industry is, globally, our second biggest pollutant and giving us the option to resell these items is simply not a big enough change.

Moreover, clothing made by these businesses is made quickly and cheaply, resulting in garments that are simply not made to last. Consumers are aware of this which might deter them from utilising a reselling app to purchase used items.

What is more, reselling does nothing to quell the bigger problem. That we, as consumers, are shopping far more than we need to. In the U.S alone, Shein adds over 300,000 new styles per day to their site, is there any wonder that consumers feel the need to flock to the site and buy new items?

There is a slight glimmer of hope. The fact that fast-fashion giants are feeling the need to offer these services to their customers suggests that there is a demand for a more circulatory approach to fashion. We can only hope that fast-fashion companies continue to alter their business models in light of this demand.

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