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SHEIN unveils resale platform to show sceptics it is serious about reducing textile waste

SHEIN has launched SHEIN Exchange, an integrated online peer-to-peer resale destination to buy and sell previously owned SHEIN products. The goal of SHEIN Exchange is to meet community demand by providing a one-stop destination for customers to become active participants in circularity and promote the benefits of purchasing pre-owned clothing over purchasing new items.

SHEIN Exchange, which can be accessed via the SHEIN app, was created in partnership with Treet, a leading resale technology platform creating circular fashion experiences for a number of fashion retailers. The resale platform simplifies the resale process so it is easier for sellers to list their items through a seamless interface that pre-populates a SHEIN customer’s previous purchases – making list-to-sale quick and easy.

According to the company, the pilot version of SHEIN Exchange in the US is part of SHEIN’s larger commitment to address the ongoing issues of textile waste and build a future of fashion that is more circular. By driving its community of millions of US customers to buy or resell on SHEIN Exchange, SHEIN aims to influence and promote mindful consumption among its customers, ultimately extending the life of as many items as possible.

The launch of SHEIN Exchange was inspired by SHEIN’s community of customers who are passionate about self-expression through fashion. Over the past years, through community-created Facebook groups and social platforms, SHEIN fans have communicated an interest in resale destinations where they can buy and sell previously owned SHEIN products without the barrier of high platform fees that they are usually required to pay.

This year, SHEIN also became a signatory of World Circular Textiles Day, a coalition of brands, suppliers and other organisations that share a mission to shift the fashion and textiles industry toward full circularity by 2050.

“At SHEIN, we believe that it is our responsibility to build a future of fashion that is equitable for all, while also accelerating solutions to reduce textile waste,” said Adam Whinston, global head of ESG at SHEIN.

According to him, the goal of SHEIN Exchange is to make resale just as easy and convenient as buying something brand new, while also igniting a cultural movement of circularity within our own SHEIN community. “By harnessing the reach and the influence of our growing community, we believe that shopping resale can become the new normal in our industry,” he added. SHEIN Exchange will be expanded to other global markets next year. 

In recent times, SHEIN has been doubling down on efforts to prove that it is sincere about sustainability and recycling. The company has copped flak over the years for contributing to the fast fashion industry.

Earlier this year, a Bloomberg report found that polyester has surpassed cotton as the backbone of textile production. After analysing over 15,000 pieces of clothing on SHEIN between 1 to 15 November 2021, Bloomberg found that 92.5% of its clothing contains new plastics. A few months after Bloomberg’s report, SHEIN rolled out evoluSHEIN, an eco-friendly line with inclusive sizing and responsibly sourced materials.

More recently, the brand said it plans to reduce overall emissions across its entire value chain by 25% by 2030. The company also planned to commit up to US$7.6 million in programmatic funding to Apparel Impact Institute, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to decarbonising and modernising the fashion industry supply chain, to build the roadmap for emissions reduction within SHEIN’s supply chain.

While the fruits of SHEIN’s ESG efforts remain to be seen, the brand is also facing forced labour allegations after media outlets including UK’s The Independent reported pictures of SHEIN tags that read “Help Me”. In response, SHEIN told The Independent previously that photos of the tags were from other companies.

Separately, on the leadership front, SHEIN appointed Charlene Lee as its public relations director in August this year. She reports to Leonard Lin, global head of government and public relations and Singapore country GM. Lee’s role focuses on reinforcing SHEIN’s corporate profile and position as a leading global fashion e-tailer.

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