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Adam Minter and Virginia Postrel

Investors Love Fast-Fashion Shein — at Least For Now

Young people care more about price than sustainability when it comes to cheap clothes. But the Chinese e-commerce startup may eventually face other headwinds.

At a Shein promotional event in London in February 2020.

At a Shein promotional event in London in February 2020.

Photographer: Antony Jones/Getty Images Europe

Earlier this week, Shein Group Ltd., a Chinese fast-fashion startup, announced a funding round that would value the company at $100 billion. That's more than the combined valuation of Hennes & Mauritz AB and Inditex SA’s Zara, and speaks to the degree to which the e-commerce retailer, which lacks physical stores, has accelerated and revolutionized fast fashion. It's a shift that has implications for global supply chains, sustainability commitments, and the future of how clothes are made.

Here, Bloomberg Opinion columnists Virginia Postrel and Adam Minter discuss these implications. Both are longtime observers of the apparel trade, with Postrel focusing on the history of textiles and Minter on the secondhand trade.