Influencer Gets Canceled After Praising Shein’s Working Conditions While Touring Their Factory And Calling Herself An ‘Independent Thinker’

In the world of fast fashion, Chinese retailer Shein is almost as large as established, low-cost businesses like Zara and H&M. And like most parts of fast fashion, it’s plagued with exploitative labor practices in factories that are best described as sweatshops. Add in intellectual property theft allegations and environmental damage and it’s easy to see why fast fashion has a pretty pejorative meaning. So, naturally, they tried to use some influencer marketing to shore up their PR.

Content creator Dani DMC and a selection of other influencers were invited to visit a Shein warehouse in China. They ended up being called out online for praising its working conditions and ignoring all the well-documented cases of labor exploitation.
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Shein brought a group of influencers to tour a warehouse and make content about the company

Image credits: sheinofficial

Image credits: sheinofficial

Dani DMC made a promo video that was torn apart online for whitewashing Shein’s labor practices

Image credits: thisisnefertiti

Image credits: thisisnefertiti

Image credits: thisisnefertiti

Image credits: thisisnefertiti

“Next day we headed to the Shein innovation center, this facility blew my mind, it’s over 600’000 square feet, there’s so much technology.”

Image credits: thisisnefertiti

“You guys know me, she’s an investigative journalist, so I asked her all of our questions and she answered them honestly and authentically.”

Image credits: thisisnefertiti

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“Shein warehouse is about 84 acres and is almost fully run by technology and automation”

Image credits: thisisnefertiti

Image credits: thisisnefertiti

“I was really impressed with the extensive checklist that each item had to go through before it’s shipped on. I think my biggest takeaway from this trip is to be an independent thinker, get the facts and see with your own two eyes.”

Image credits: thisisnefertiti

You can view the full video here

Shein is notorious for how it treats its labor force

Image crdits: MART PRODUCTION (not the actual photo)

Just like fast food, speed is not exactly a good thing when it comes to fast fashion. Yes, it means we can all get our items quickly, it allows for the manufacturer to turn a quick profit and the clothes fall apart just as fast. The largest examples these days include, but aren’t limited to H&M, Zara, and Chinese giant Shein. Despite operating mostly online, Shein has been able to acquire a market share almost equal to the other two brick-and-mortar stores. While consumers might enjoy low, low prices and a truly vast selection of clothes, the commenters on Dani DMC’s post are absolutely right, this comes at the more hidden cost of horrible labor conditions, environmental disruption, and even IP theft.

Keen readers would have already noticed the allegations of Shein operating like a textbook sweatshop. One report found that six locations across China mandated 75-hour work weeks for their employees. Despite the poor labor conditions often associated with it, Chinese law actually prohibits this sort of workload. Similarly, the same report found that in many sites, Shein would block off corridors and stairways to limit workers’ freedom of movement. Even if you want to quit, you might be forced to wait until the end of your shift, notwithstanding the safety risks. In the “best” of circumstances, fast fashion relies on the cheapest possible labor by design. Often this means building the cheapest possible facilities in countries where they can get away with it while underpaying workers. While Shein is notorious for this, it’s not the only perpetrator, as its competitors, such as the aforementioned Zara and H&M do the same.

Fast fashion may be cheap, but the environment bears the brunt of the costs

Image credits: Francois Le Nguyen (not the actual photo)

Not only does it slow wear down and erode its workers, but these fast fashion companies also have a disproportionate effect on the planet. In general, the fashion industry is responsible for roughly 8 to 10% of global carbon emissions, mostly through logistical costs and excessive use of water. Due to its scale, fast fashion is responsible for the lion’s share of these emissions, as millions of disposable items of clothing are made, shipped, sold, and discarded in rapid succession. The use of cheap materials and suppliers can have other negative effects on the environment. Shein in particular got itself in hot water when it sold items that had significantly more lead in them than was permitted. For example, it sold toddlers’ jackets that had over twenty times the lead content that was permitted in Canada. The same investigation also found that it sold handbags that were five times over the lead limit.

Last, but not least, Shein has other ways to cut costs, for example stealing or misattributing designs to get out of royalty payments. It has stolen designs from smaller, indie brands multiple times in the past and has repeatedly been boycotted for its actions in 2020 and 2021. Despite all this bad press, people are drawn to low prices like a moth to a flame. Nevertheless, as shown above, Shein does seem to want a better reputation than it currently has. It’s not alone in the fast fashion industry and likely has the worst reputation amongst its peers. Inviting influencers would have been an effective strategy if all its “guests” didn’t read from the same script and all didn’t gush over a supremely staged warehouse. The collection of comments and reader opinions below are just a small set of the backlash these influencers got for sweeping Shein’s actions under the rug.

Commenters didn’t hold back, questioning and criticizing the “journalism” displayed by the influencers

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Dani DMC was irritated by the criticism and posted an angry response

Image credits: daisyjasminee

She later made another video trying to give her viewers the whole picture

Image credits: danidmc

The post Influencer Gets Canceled After Praising Shein’s Working Conditions While Touring Their Factory And Calling Herself An ‘Independent Thinker’ first appeared on Bored Panda.


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