On Monday, fast-fashion retailer Shein launched its resale program “Shein Exchange.”
The online-only (and app-supported) peer-to-peer resale program facilitates the sale and purchase of secondhand Shein products. The pilot program (powered by service provider Treet) is available in the U.S. to start as part of the company’s broader circularity commitments.
“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,” Adam Whinston, global head of ESG at Shein, said in a statement. “We’re calling on our community to mobilize and keep previously owned clothing in circulation for as long as possible. By harnessing the reach and the influence of our growing community, we believe that shopping resale can become the new normal in our industry.”
Shein Exchange is only available in the U.S., though there are plans to expand to other global markets next year. The program is powered by Treet, a resale service provider that manages resale programs for a number of fashion brands including recently Dôen. Like other Treet programs, shoppers get credits or cash back for purchases. Shein past order history is built into the program so shoppers can easily list items for resale. Once an item sells, Shein sends a prepaid shipping label to the seller.
The fast-fashion company said it aims to promote “mindful consumption” among its customers, ultimately extending the life of as many items as possible with Shein Exchange.
Shein maintains that only 1 percent (or one in 100) of Shein customers are only wearing their Shein pieces once, per insights from a 15,000-person survey of Shein customers. The company also said its customers engage in circular habits (with about 16 percent engaging in peer-to-peer resale with Shein products) despite the alleged quality indifference of fast-fashion goods.
All things considered, Shein global sales are on track to exceed $30 billion this year, (though analyst insights forecasted a modest $20 billion). In November, a Public Eye report raised claim of adverse working conditions in Shein’s supply chain including 75-hour workweeks in some of its contracted factories. And researchers also uncovered the prevalence of PFAs, or “forever” polyfluoroalkyl substances, in the brand’s clothes as with other fast fashion goods. The company publicly addressed the controversies in the past but progress is still underway. Just last week, Shein parent company Zoetop was fined $1.9 million for data and security breaches by New York state to which it is complying.
“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,” Whinston reiterated.