New Funding Round for Fast Fashion Platform Shein Gives Company Around $100 Billion USD Valuation
If you’ve been on social media – specifically TikTok – over the past few months, there’s no doubt you’ve seen a handful of Shein hauls, reviews, and so on.
The fast-fashion giant has quadrupled its revenue over the past three years, reaching $15.7 billion in sales, and is now looking for $1 billion in funding, and a $100 billion valuation. @elodie_frnds Big big big haul Shein ! 🛍 @SHEIN #haul #shein ♬ Backyard boy – ⚡︎𝗔𝗱𝗱𝗶𝗲⚡︎
Shein reportedly adds over 1,000 new styles to its website every single day. Zara typically has 2,000 items over a 30-day period, for comparison.
Shein’s valuation paints a terrifying picture of the future of fast fashion, where we consume apparel for less than $5 USD, and buy enormous quantities of clothes every single year.
As consumers, we’ve become a lot more conscious about our consumption, as well as have started to put pressure on some of the biggest fashion brands to take responsibility and introduce sustainable initiatives. Swedish giant H&M has been at the forefront, introducing recycling programs, its “Close the Loop” initiative, and collections made out of re-used materials, and Inditex has also followed suit.
However, when it comes to Shein, there are no sustainability initiatives nor transparency around its production and manufacturing processes, yet plenty of people are still buying from the website every single day.
The Business of Fashion reports that Shein’s success is largely attributed to its tech-driven approach, using AI software that plugs trending styles from social media and across the internet directly into its computers on the factory floor. When you think about it, it basically feels like an episode of Black Mirror.
The way that SheIn is making three of the most polluting fashion brands look insignificant is utterly terrifying. pic.twitter.com/OSAU8imqtm— Venetia La Manna (@venetialamanna) April 7, 2022
“In November, it hired Adam Whinston, the company’s first head of ESG, who told BoF he intends to clean up Shein’s supply chain and incorporate more sustainable practices like using recycled materials and developing a resale program,” BoF continues.
But what does a Head of Environmental, Social, and Governance really do at a company like Shein? Clearly, its production is resulting in plenty of revenue (at least, one would think) and its efforts to become more responsible may just be to please the public eye.
Shein is still a private company, which means that it is not obligated to share its financial records, which means that we have no idea to know whether the business is actually profitable, or whether it is operating on small margins.
It remains to be seen whether the fast-fashion behemoth will secure its $100 billion dollar evaluation, but when it does, it will paint a pretty sad picture on our fashion industry, and its ever-growing impact on the environment.
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