The Chinese fashion brand Shein found rapid success by catering to young shoppers whose tastes are driven by social media. But making fast fashion even faster comes at a cost


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The Chinese clothing brand Shein was recently valued at $100bn (£78bn) – more than H&M and Zara combined. The company specialises in serving generation Z customers around the world the looks they see on social media at low prices. But it has not been without controversy.

Tech reporter Louise Matsakis and China reporter Meaghan Tobin spent six months charting the rise of Shein for the journalism nonprofit Rest of the World; they tell Hannah Moore that the company has been plagued by accusations of poor labour and environmental practices. In addition, designers such as Nixi Killick – whose psychedelic dresses and leggings have been worn by Lady Gaga, Sia and others – say Shein has copied their work without permission.

Despite these problems, the company’s dominance has changed the clothing retail industry. And now, Shein’s ultra-fast fashion business model is being imitated by other brands.

A woman wearing Shein. Photograph: Stefanie Keenan/Getty for Shein x Anitta

Photograph: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for SHEIN x Anitta

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Date: April 25, 2022, 2:00 am

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