At the beginning of the year it was unclear how this new fashion manufacturer would even pronounce itself: Shein.

So "schain"?

Or two-syllable: like the English you, "she" - short pause - "in"?

At the end of this year it is clear that the second version is the right one.

There is hardly a fashion-loving teenager in Germany who has not even become weak with this offer in the past twelve months.

Jennifer Wiebking

Editor in the "Life" section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

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Zara?

HM?

Primark?

The fashion winner of the pandemic year 2021 is Shein from China.

The Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M looks like a slow-wear label compared to the discount store brand based in Guangzhou.

In any case, Shein is even cheaper, faster and above all: digitally more natural.

When contacts were limited in the first few months of this year, restaurants, bars, clubs, and fashion stores were closed, the ever-changing offerings on the Shein website, social interactions through the app, and affordable merchandise shipments for many young people were one of the few great joys.

The knitted sweater for 16.99 euros.

The high-cut wide jeans for 15 euros.

The top with a deep back neckline for 16 euros.

Order.

Attract.

Take a picture.

Post.

Then the piece can often go away.

Shein has made a business model out of the attitude that a fashion item is "burned" after the owner has presented it once on their social media account.

The potential for addiction for adolescents is high

You don't have to be particularly critical of consumption to realize that someone else will pay the price for these clothes.

First of all: the environment.

Because every single parcel is also sent directly from China to customers in Europe.

The return - if the parts are nothing - is usually too time-consuming to be worthwhile considering the low value of the goods.

Those who still pay with this consumer trend: the local workforce, presumably. Even in a high-tech world, fashion is and remains to a large extent manual work, even if Shein has optimized supply and demand, from the sewer to the customer, more efficiently than any other fashion brand. This also explains the success of this year.

And finally, in the Shein case, many customers are likely to pay themselves.

The British Times noted in November that the brand's features, reminiscent of casino games, with live streams, countdowns, tasks and goals that end with discount coupons, deliberately manipulated consumers into buying even more.

Even twelve-year-olds could download the app and get started.

Gamble and shop.

With this online offer, one thing blends in with the other.

That can be great fun.

But also addicting.

The price for this is then significantly higher than that for the high-cut wide trousers.

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