Shein has swiped back at claims made by the Channel 4 documentary “Untold: Inside the Shein Machine” and said that it is “extremely concerned” by the claims presented in the programme.
Channel 4 sent an undercover journalist named “Mei” into factories supplying clothing to Shein. In the documentary, she claimed to find evidence of “exploitative working conditions”.
Shein does not own or control any of the factories that it receives products from.
The locations of the factories were not revealed in order to protect the undercover reporter and her colleagues.
During the programme, it was revealed that there are no defined working hours and that workers are only allowed one day off per month. Some were found to be working 18-hour days.
Workers in the factory received a shocking wage of 3p per item produced. If they made a mistake, they were fined up to three quarters of an average workers daily salary (100 yuan/£12).
Channel 4’s reporter also said she found a “culture of design theft” within the fast fashion company, which achieved a $100 billion valuation earlier this year.
The programme found that Shein “scrapes social media for emerging trends, turning them into designs which they commission in small batches from a network of thousands of factories in Guangzhou, China”.
On the documentary’s findings, a spokesperson for the fast-fashion giant said: “We are extremely concerned by the claims presented by Channel 4, which would violate the Code of Conduct agreed to by every Shein supplier. Any non-compliance with this code is dealt with swiftly, and we will terminate partnerships that do not meet our standards.
“We have requested specific information from Channel 4 so that we can investigate.
“Shein’s Responsible Sourcing (SRS) standards hold our suppliers to a code of conduct based on International Labor Organization conventions and local laws and regulations, including labor practices, and working conditions.
“We work with leading independent agencies like TUV, SGS, OpenView and Intertek to conduct unannounced audits at supplier facilities.”
On the matter of design theft, the company had this to say to Channel 4: “When legitimate complaints are raised by valid IP rights holders, SHEIN promptly addresses the situation.”