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Lara Williams

Rise of Shein Tests an Industry’s Go-Green Commitments

Fast fashion is the must-have trend for inflation-squeezed young shoppers and their TikToks, even at the expense of sustainability.

Shein looms large.

Shein looms large.

Photographer: Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images

People have been predicting the death of fast fashion for years now. Cheap clothing, responsible for billions of tons of carbon emissions and landfill waste annually, was too damaging and too unethical to continue, according to the critics.

So fast-fashion giants Zara and H&M started publishing sustainability reports and information on the environmental impacts of their clothes. Ethical, planet-friendly startups such as Pangaia and AllBirds grew in popularity. The youth were thrifting, with the secondhand-clothing industry predicted to outpace fast fashion by 2030.