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Gisele Dazed and Confused
Gisele Bündchen in Dazed & Confused July 1999Photography Liz Collins, styling Katie Grand

Depressing! Shein named the most popular fashion brand of 2022

The controversial brand beat giants such as Nike and Zara to claim the top spot

Shein has been named as 2022’s most popular fashion brand, following a report compiled by The company, formed in Nanjing in 2008, was named as the most Googled clothing brand in 113 countries, overtaking Zara and finding itself ahead of other clothing giants such as Nike and adidas by quite some margin. Only a matter of hours after that news broke, Shein also admitted working hour breaches where some employees were working 75 hour weeks and only taking two-to-three days off a month. The news unravelled as a succession of events which perfectly sums up the majority of fast fashion: low prices, high human cost. So that’s great! 

At a time when sustainability seems to be the word on many businesses lips, it begs the question as to why Shein still remains the fashion giant that it is. Its track record against workers rights is damning, as is the information about its unsustainable environmental model, where it produces around 700-1,000 new pieces a day, on top of all other orders that need fulfilling – leaving in its trail 6.3 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year as byproduct. 

The low price point of its products remains a complex issue, due to the fact that for many cheap clothing is essential to many – particularly as we enter a cost of living crisis in the UK. Instead, the power to make change largely lies with fast fashion brands themselves, or with global governments who could enforce restrictions that would reduce their output for the sake of the workers and the environment. 

Back in September, members of the audience at the SS23 Coperni show let out an audible gasp as Bella Hadid had a dress sprayed onto her body in real time. The special polymer used during the performance can be melted back down into a liquid, ready to be used again. It was a stunt that captured the attention of millions around the world and showed that there is clearly interest to create new, innovative ways to create sustainable clothing. Sadly, however, fast fashion is clearly showing no signs of slowing down – hopefully with its popularity there can be a different approach to the mass production of clothes, without having to sacrifice healthy work environments or further damaging the planet.