Will Shein’s new resale platform mute its fast-fashion critics?
Fast-fashion giant Shein is the most downloaded retail app in the U.S. despite operating a business model that critics claim is helping to push the Earth towards environmental calamity. Will the introduction of Shein Exchange, a peer-to-peer resale feature integrated into the app, help the Chinese company push back against some of the criticism it faces?
A company press release said that the development of the Exchange came about as a result requests from its fans on social media. The Exchange was created with Treet, a resale technology platform used by other retailers.
Shein is piloting the Exchange in the U.S. with plans to roll it out to other global markets in 2023. Shein asserted that it is committed to reducing waste and offered as proof it, being among the signatories to the World Circular Textiles Day coalition that seeks to achieve full circularity by 2050.
“The goal of Shein Exchange is to make resale just as easy and convenient as buying something brand new, while also igniting a cultural movement of circularity within our own SHEIN community,” said Adam Whinston, global head of ESG at Shein, in a statement. “We’re calling on our community to mobilize and keep previously owned clothing in circulation for as long as possible. By harnessing the reach and the influence of our growing community, we believe that shopping resale can become the new normal in our industry.”
Critics may well dismiss Shein’s news. ThredUP in June sent push notifications to customers in San Francisco asking them not to shop at a pop-up Shein opened for two days in the city.
Erin Wallace, thredUP vice president of integrated marketing, told RetailWire, “Shein lists thousands of brand-new styles every day, encouraging endless consumption and creating disposable fashion waste. Their business model is the antithesis of circularity.”
Shein may have another public relations issue to contend with. An undercover investigative report by Channel 4 and The i newspaper in the UK found that factory workers in China frequently have to put in 18-hours days with only one day off per month. The workers are paid about four cents a garment, earning about $556 a month.
Shein told Business Insider that the report, if true, would show a violation of its code of conduct and result in the termination of its contract with the supplier.
- SHEIN Builds New Community Destination Through SHEIN Exchange Resale Platform – Shein/PRNewswire
- Treet Shop
- ThredUP asks consumers to boycott Shein’s pop-up shop – RetailWire
- Shein factory employees are working 18-hour days for pennies per garment and washing their hair on lunch breaks because they have so little time off, a new report finds – Business Insider
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Shein’s new resale platform mute its critics? What do you see as the pros and cons to Shein’s reliance on peer-to-peer transactions through its exchange?