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The Vanguard

The Shein and Forever 21 merger and what it means for fast fashion

The Shein and Forever 21 merger and what it means for fast fashion

Shein, the clothing and accessory company that has taken the internet by storm, recently signed a deal with Forever 21’s operating company, the Sparc Group. This merger is bound to have a massive impact on the fast fashion industry and fashion in general as Shein continues to expand into the United States. 

 

When fast fashion is mentioned, Shein is typically one of the first names that comes to mind. The quickly growing company is known for its low prices on items like crop tops and even utensils. Products arrive quickly, so there’s not much of a wait after ordering. Given the amount of customers and the sheer amount of items on the website, Shein must be shipping out thousands of packages per day. Production of the items being sold also must be  However, these benefits don’t come without their share of controversy. In recent years, Shein has been exposed for its alleged unethical business practices – and it goes deeper than corporate corruption. 

 

Workers in Shein garment factories are alleged to be not only extremely overworked but also drastically underpaid. In around 600 factories located in China, workers are forced to work shifts up to 75 hours at a time with little breaks and very little money to show for it. According to Time Magazine, Shein employees are hired with no contracts or minimum wage requirements, meaning they could be paid as low as $20 a day to make hundreds of garments by hand. The factories themselves are extremely unsafe, with many lacking basic safety requirements like emergency exits and fire alarms. Additionally, the rapid rate of production means every factory churns out massive amounts of CO2, meaning massive drawbacks for the environment. 

 

As for the second half of the merger, Forever 21 is also a notable fast fashion company, with hundreds of stores in the US alone. Their company relies on a similarly rapid paper-to-garment production, and it likely has many of the same shady characteristics as Shein in terms of production. However, speculation is that Shien merged with the company because they have something Shein doesn’t: an in-person clientele. 

 

The merger, signed in August, means that Shein will acquire around ⅓ of Forever 21’s operating company, The Sparc Group. But what does this really mean? Both companies were previously each other’s competitors, each being a top brand in the fast fashion industry. But with this partnership, not only will both brands be able to reach many more clients, but Shein will also have the opportunity to have in-store clothing for the first time. 

 

As Shein continues to expand, even potentially becoming available in stores, their unethical business practices are not erased. Workers continue to be exploited, and the environment continues to be damaged. This merger can only have a greater negative impact on the world, regardless of how cheap consumers can buy the latest trend.

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About the Contributor
Anoushka Kanitkar, Lead Staff
Anoushka Kanitkar is a dedicated and passionate junior at LTHS this year. This is her second year on the Vanguard Newspaper Staff. She’s an avid reader, writer, and enjoys listening to music in her downtime. Anoushka is thrilled to serve on lead staff this year and is excited to continue expanding into the limitless world of news and writing!

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