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Shein Controversy: Clothing Tags Show Employees Asking for Help

The fast fashion industry, with brands like Shein being one of the largest manufacturers responsible for mass-producing cheap clothing, has come under fire for multiple reasons, from ethical to environmental concerns. Recently, TikToks by multiple creators have blown up displaying cryptic messages on the Shein clothing tags, such as “need your help” or “SOS.” 

While it is commonly known that the majority of fast fashion clothing is not ethically generated, with most clothing produced in sweatshops run by workers who are not fairly compensated, the low price point of Shein clothes, as well as the variety of styles, seems to be enough justification for millions of Americans to continue to purchase from the brand. Fast fashion caters to current styles that are temporarily trending, creating clothing that is cheaply made and sold at an equally cheap price. The accessibility factor of thousands of new daily styles is appealing to the general American consumer, who most likely places an online order without truly thinking of where their clothes come from, and who made them. However, as videos have circulated that show possible Shein laborers attempting to get in contact with customers and ask for help, many have cut all ties with the brand and refuse to purchase more clothes that are not ethically made. 

Shein recently released a statement claiming that the line “need your help” that has now been detected on a plethora of clothing tags is not as awful as it seems, and apparently has simply been blown out of proportion by social media. Shein claimed that this line is only part of the washing instructions, in which the whole statement says “need your help washing with the soft detergent at the first time to make the goods softer.” The phrase “need your help” has been claimed to be a simple reminder to customers of how to wash their garments, but the specific wording has been misconstrued due to the language barrier of the employees. 

While Shein has tried to save face with the excuse of a “simple misunderstanding,” customers remain skeptical, considering that this phrase does not consistently appear on all Shein clothing tags, as well as the fact that other customers have received packages with tags such as “I have dental pain” and “HELP” or “SOS” physically written onto the tags or the outside package, along with Chinese characters. The question remains whether Shein will come forward about the actual conditions their employees are working in, and also whether Americans will continue to support this unethical brand simply due to convenience and price.

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