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The Big Take

How Trump’s Trade War Built Shein, China’s First Global Fashion Giant

With thousands of new, ultracheap outfits every day, Shein is winning the world’s teens and pushing the limits of fast fashion

SheIn Gif

Illustration: Simon Fuller; Photography: Getty Images for Shein

On May 17, Shein — pronounced “she-in” — ended Amazon’s 152-day streak as the most downloaded shopping app in the U.S., a remarkable feat for any seven-year-old clothing brand, let alone one most Americans over 30 still haven’t heard of.

The kids, though, are all over it. As with so many online phenomena, Gen Z and young millennial shoppers have propelled Shein’s rise, in thrall to the company’s never-ending, always-changing catalog of clothes at prices that stretch even the most meager allowance.