How Shein is accelerating in fast fashion

Posted Apr 1, 2022, 5:00 PM

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It is the darling claw of teenagers. The Chinese brand Shein (pronounced “chi-ine”) is one of the rare brands in inexpensive and mass market fashion to have established itself in the West while being almost non-existent in its own country. Its low prices are attractive, but it is its responsiveness to trends that is all the rage. Created in 2008, Shein takes up the concept of fast fashion on which brands such as Zara thrive. She still pushes the sliders. Shein advertises 6,000 new SKUs per day and has reduced design to packaging time to a maximum of 2 weeks. We can even speak of ultra fast fashion.

Its growth is dizzying. In the midst of a pandemic, it would have multiplied its sales by 250% to reach 10 billion dollars, at the same level as Zara. Without suffering like the latter from the closure of its stores, since it has none. In the United States it has overtaken Amazon as the most downloaded application. For her popularity Shein relies on social networks and influencers, not necessarily known, which she makes her ambassadors. Armed with powerful algorithms and artificial intelligence, it identifies all the trends to apply them to its products.

Small hands and long hours

But behind the virtual showcase, there are hands that make. The brand works with nearly 6,000 medium-sized workshops in southern China, near Canton. Shein’s frenetic pace earned him a sting from an NGO regarding the working conditions of workers. Many have extended hours. Days can end at 10 p.m. and weekly schedules go up to 74 hours. Social protection is often non-existent.

La Story is a podcast from Les Echos presented by Pierrick Fay. This episode was recorded in March 2022. Editor-in-chief: Clémence Lemaistre. Guest: Frédéric Schaeffer (correspondent of “Echos” in China). Directed by: Nicolas Jean. Production and publishing manager: Michèle Warnet. Music: Théo Boulenger. Graphic identity: Upian. Photo: Shutterstock. Sounds: Shein, Supermoon “Fast-Fashion”, Lolina “Fast Fashion”, Témé Tan “Ça Va Pas La Tête? », Broute Canal+, Ms. Céline.

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How Shein is accelerating in fast fashion


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