This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission, at no cost to you. As always, I only recommend links I personally use and love!
If you’re a sucker for trendy styles that won’t make your wallet cry, chances are you’ve fallen into the Shein fashion vortex.
If you’ve been living under a rock and just discovered online shopping, Shein might still have found its way to your cave. Or your social media feeds, to be exact. Now, is Shein legit?
I’m about to spill the tea on everything you need to know about the fast fashion giant, so stick around!
Sheinn (read: she-in) is a Chinese online fast-fashion retailer. From its humble roots in Nanjing, China, founder Chris Xu turned the company into a multi-billion-dollar fashion empire, all within a mere decade.
In its early days, Shein operated like a dropshipping business, selling wedding gowns placed through small suppliers. The fashion retailer wasn’t involved in garment design and manufacturing at all.
Instead, they sold garments from third-party manufacturers directly to their international customers.
In 2014, Shein decided to level up by overhauling its supply chain system. In the same year, it acquired Romwe, another Chinese online shopping retailer. By 2015, the company rebranded to Shein, a more memorable and searchable name for shoppers.
And the rest is, as they say, history.
Shein is now based in Singapore but still keeps most of its assets in China.
Is Shein Legit?
Now that you’ve got a peek at Shein’s fascinating backstory, let’s cut to the chase: Is Shein a legit place to shop online?
The resounding answer is yes—Shein is the real deal!
Still not convinced? Let’s dig deeper:
- Global Customer Base
Shein ships to over 150 countries worldwide. Their massive, ever-changing collection means there’s a little something for everyone’s unique taste and style.
A Business of Apps report found that the shopping app had more than 88 million users in 2023. And get this—annual users in the U.S. soared from half a million to an astonishing 17.3 million between 2017 and 2023.
Statistica also estimated that 30% of the website’s traffic comes from global visitors aged 25–34.
But who exactly is Shein’s primary customer base?
Well, Shein’s heart beats for young, budget-conscious queens who want to slay in style.
That said, the online retailer has expanded its fashion kingdom to include kid’s clothing, menswear, and lifestyle items.
- Online Presence
For a group that’s the largest consumer of digital content, I’m sure there aren’t many Gen Zers who aren’t familiar with Shein. Indeed, Shein was TikTok’s most popular brand in 2022, with over 13 thousand influencers giving it a shoutout.
Fast forward to 2023, and guess who’s still the talk of TikTok?
Once again, Shein is the most popular brand for the #hauls hashtag, claiming 42% of all products featured in home and clothing hauls.
And it’s not just TikTok.
Social media feeds overflow with fashion bloggers and content creators eagerly unboxing their latest Shein finds, leaving you intrigued and wanting more. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, Shein is everywhere.
- Celebrity Collaborations
Aside from teaming up with micro-influencers, Shein brings serious star power with celebrity collaborations.
In 2021, Khloe Kardashian served as a judge for the brand’s design competition, the Shein x 100K Challenge. Joining her on the judging panel were fashion luminaries like Christian Siriano, Law Roach, Laurel Pantin, and Jenna Lyons.
Khloe isn’t the first celeb to team up with Shein. Earlier that year, Nick Jonas, Maren Morris, and Steve Aoki lent their talents to Shein’s virtual concert for a charitable cause.
In 2020, Shein pulled out all the stops with a global streaming event featuring Katy Perry, Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, and Rita Ora. Hailey Baldwin, Storm Reid, Yara Shahidi, and Tyler Cameron also dropped in to treat viewers with styling tips.
Proceeds from the star-studded affair went to the WHO’s COVID-19 relief fund.
- Brand Collaborations
If you want more proof of how legit Shein is, check out these exciting brand collaborations:
Shein x Forever 21
In November 2023, hundreds of bestselling Forever 21 pieces and exclusive Forever 21 x Shein co-branded items went live on all Shein platforms. Many were surprised, given the fierce rivalry between the two fast fashion giants.
That said, it’s a clever, perfectly timed move for Shein. Since the company is planning to float public shares in the U.S., the collab ensures Shein can get to more American closets. (The collection is also available in Australia and parts of Europe.)
This partnership comes hot on the heels of SHEIN grabbing a chunk of SPARC Group, Forever 21’s operator.
Shein x Alice McCall
Chic styles and a commitment to Mother Earth—that’s what SHEIN and Aussie designer Alice McCall have cooked up!
Their capsule collection, flaunting over 30 pieces, captures McCall’s signature style. Think pastel hues, floral prints, and 70s Italian lingerie.
This collab is about eco-conscious fashion. Limited-edition styles are crafted from rescued textiles, giving excess fabrics a second life. SHEIN uses American tech firm Queen of Raw’s Materia MX software to make this happen.
Fashion with a green heart? Count me in!
Shein x Frida Kahlo Corporation
Now, here’s a collection that screams “wearable art.” Shein’s tag-teaming with the Frida Kahlo Corporation (FKC) to bring the iconic Mexican artist’s spirit into your wardrobe.
But, fair warning: FKS has a long-standing tussle with some of the legendary painter’s family over trademarks and rights.
- Valuable Brand
After bagging $1 billion in funding in 2022, Shein’s valuation skyrocketed to a jaw-dropping $100 billion. That’s more than what international brands Zara and H&M are worth together!
Need I say more?
Well, actually, Shein’s valuation dropped to $66 billion in 2023, but that’s still a lot of money, right?
Does Shein Have Good Reviews?
You’re probably curious about what actual customers say about Shein. With billions of Shein products out in the wild, there’s a wealth of feedback to sift through.
Based on more than 140 thousand customer reviews, Shein has a solid 3.9 out of 5 on TrustPilot.
Interestingly, 50% of reviewers gave the Shein website a perfect score, while 24% are not-so-happy campers, slapping it with just one star.
I’ve compiled a summary of these positive and negative reviews, so you don’t have to.
- Cheap prices
- Fast shipping
- Sales and discounts galore
- Diverse styles
- User-friendly platform
- Poor customer support
- Slow return
- Sizing issues
While the general sentiment about Shein is pretty upbeat, there’s a bit of a buzzkill in the review section. Some shoppers aren’t too thrilled with how Shein handles 1-star reviews.
A common complaint is the generic response nudging customers toward the live chat.
But the thing is, some customers are having a hard time trying to access that live chat. Double frustration, anyone?
Should You Be Worried About Customer Complaints?
Shein has its fair share of customer complaints, but let’s face it, that’s pretty standard for a company of its size.
The real question is: How does Shein address disgruntled customers?
One common complaint is how difficult it is to reach Shein’s customer service. This valid concern can be a real headache for those wanting to return items or check on their orders.
Unfortunately, a few unlucky customers hit a dead-end in resolving their issues with Shein.
So, should you be losing sleep over Shein complaints? Probably not. There are still more positive reviews than there are negative ones.
In the end, it’s all about weighing the pros and cons. If you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead, and check out orders to your heart’s content. Just keep those potential hiccups in the back of your mind.
Is It Safe to Buy at Shein?
We get that you want all the deets about Shein before parting ways with your hard-earned cash. So, just keep scrolling!
- Clothing Quality
Shein is a mixed bag—you never quite know what you’re going to get! Some pieces might feel surprisingly good for the price, while others can be absolute duds.
Even with thousands of positive reviews, a few clothing items can leave you feeling like you’re wrapped in a potato sack.
Still, more shoppers have happy endings than horror stories.
If you’re looking for killer dupes, Shein is the place to be. And everything is crazy affordable that it’s hard not to get hooked.
Getting a sweet deal is awesome, but the quality might not always stack up to fancier, pricier options. It’s a gamble, but with such budget-friendly options, taking that risk might just pay off.
If there’s one thing every seasoned Shein shopper knows, it’s that Shein’s sizing can be inconsistent. Sometimes, a small is more like an extra-small, and other times, it generously stretches into medium territory.
So, don’t bet on the clothing tag alone.
What’s a savvy shopper to do? Measure up!
You probably won’t have any sizing issues if you consult the size chart of that particular listing and match it with your measurements.
The listing will tell you what size the model is wearing. Yet, since models often flaunt enviable hourglass figures, turn to customer photos and find someone with a shape like yours.
The same goes for Shein Curve, with sizes ranging from XL to 5X. Again, the term “plus-size” here is somewhat flexible. Items can run 1–2 sizes smaller than typical plus sizes. For example, Shein’s XL is more of a size 12 than a 16, and a 5X sits at a size 22, not 30–32.
And again, the tape measure is your BFF. Take measurements of your bust, waist, and hips, and check out the sizing guide for comparison.
- Data Security
Shein suffered a data breach in 2018, affecting millions of Shein and Romwe accounts. The breach led to the theft of personal data, passwords, and credit card information. To make matters worse, Shein’s then-parent company, Zoetop, tried to cover up the hacking incident.
Again, in 2023, Shein found itself in hot water for a snoopy code in its Android app. The code in question can read the clipboard and check for the characters “://” and “$,” which indicates URL data and price.
While not exactly data theft, the company could exploit this clipboard sniffing for marketing purposes. The good news is that Shein has already updated that version many times.
Besides, Google has added some safety measures. For instance, Android 10 and later versions restrict clipboard access unless the app is actively in the foreground.
Concerned about your credit card information? Don’t worry; Shein allows third-party payment apps.
Usually, I use PayPal when exploring new sites, but you can choose from these other payment methods:
- Debit or credit cards
- Cash App Pay
- Shipping and Delivery
Shein’s main warehouses are in China and Hong Kong. Until recently, many American buyers waited for two weeks or more to get their hands on their purchases.
That’s not good for business, especially when competitors like Target and Amazon are flexing their next-day shipping prowess during the holiday shopping frenzy.
With distribution hubs in Indiana and California, shipping times have become shorter, about 4–7 days. Look for that Quickship tag; it means your item is coming from a warehouse in the U.S.
That’s not all; Shein now offers express shipping via DHL.
- Return and Refund Policies
Returning a fashion faux pas or sizing mishap? Let’s dissect Shein’s return policy.
Shein’s return window is pretty standard—30 days from the date of receipt. That’s more than enough time to check out your purchase and decide whether you want to keep it.
Shein is generally open to returns, but there are a few exceptions to the rule, including:
- Bathing suits
A recurring theme in customer reviews is the handling and processing fees associated with returns. While it’s not uncommon for companies to charge such fees, some Shein customers feel the fees are on the steep side.
To avoid surprises, familiarize yourself with Shein’s return policy specific to your region.
Why Is Shein So Popular?
So, what’s the Shein obsession all about? Well, that’s all thanks to Chris Xu.
Would you believe the mastermind behind Shein isn’t a fashion genius but a search engine optimization (SEO) expert? With this skill, Chris Xu built a business model based on demand rather than predicted sales.
Through trend spotting! Read on to learn more.
Shein’s On-Demand Model
Ever wondered how Shein is always on top of the latest trends? The company has a team of tech-savvy sniffers! That’s right—Shein has people whose job is to track down the hottest styles on the Internet.
Shein gives you what you want when you want it. The online retailer constantly drops new styles inspired by what people are buying and what’s hot on social media, especially on TikTok.
Traditional fashion often leads to overproduction and surplus inventory, left unsold or condemned to the landfill. Shein’s on-demand model helps minimize this waste to a certain degree.
Of course, Shein’s partners still mass-produce clothing pieces that are going viral at that moment. But by producing fashion items based on actual demand, Shein puts its environmental footprint in check.
The cherry on top? Fashion must-haves at affordable prices!
Why Is Shein So Cheap?
Shein’s threads are so cheap you can put together an entire outfit for less than $20. Now, how does Shein manage to keep its prices so wallet-friendly? Let’s break it down:
The fast-fashion brand keeps costs low by outsourcing manufacturing to more affordable markets. They team up with thousands of small and medium-sized businesses in China, where things are cheaper to produce.
In essence, Shein is a vast marketplace, uniting over 6,000 Chinese factories under the Shein label.
And suppliers are loyal to Shein. Why?
Simple—Shein always pays on time. Even if particular designs don’t initially make suppliers big bucks, there’s always the chance for a huge payday when something becomes viral.
- Non-Traditional Marketing Strategy
There’s no way you haven’t heard of Shein if you’re a fan of online shopping.
Shein doesn’t go for traditional ads. Instead, it takes over your Instagram and TikTok feeds through social media influencers and their Shein haul videos. Influencer marketing costs less and, more importantly, pulls in more clicks and purchases.
The secret? Trust.
Forget about celebrities just attaching their name to a brand. Influencers are trustworthy figures in niche communities and specific topics. They can spin the brand’s message in a way that feels real to you.
So, if your favorite influencer gives a product the thumbs-up, you’re more likely to hit that buy link. Here are some key statistics to prove how powerful influencers are:
- 31% of social media users stumble upon new products thanks to influencers
- About 50% of X users have hit that “buy now” button because of a tweet from an influencer
- 32% of Gen Z users have bought a product because an influencer recommended it
- 73% of U.S. teens believe Instagram is the ultimate platform for brands to showcase new products or promotions
- Cheap Materials
A $5 floral dress and $10 jeans? You can snag fashionable items for dirt-cheap prices at Shein.
High-quality items cost money. In Shein’s world, it’s more about trendy styles than quality materials.
You can channel your inner style icon without breaking the bank. From fast fashion to luxury-inspired looks, the e-retailer has your back.
Shein’s mission is clear—make fashion accessible for everyone!
- No Physical Stores
Odds are you won’t find Shein on your local shopping strip.
Shein mainly operates online. No brick-and-mortar stores mean no rent, staff, and utilities. It’s a clever business model that keeps Shein’s prices friendly on the pocket.
That said, Shein has opened pop-up stores in major fashion districts, such as:
- Las Vegas
Each pop-up features Instagram-worthy spots, perfect for snapping those fashion-forward photos as you shop.
These stores are a magnet for the younger crowd, with hundreds of teens and young adults flocking to these events to grab their favorite pieces.
- Low Margins, Large Volumes
The online retailer operates on slim profit margins for each item sold.
In other words, Shein makes a small profit on each item but relies on boatloads of sales to make those dollars add up.
- Low Shipping Costs
Shein ships your fashion finds to your doorstep. Unlike some brands that sell to middlemen who then sell to you, Shein cuts out the middle step.
Plus, direct-to-consumer companies are exempted from paying export taxes in China.
Is Shein Ethical?
Fact: You can score trendy Shein pieces for a steal! So, it’s no surprise that it’s been creating a buzz around the ethical side of things for years.
With an initial public offering (IPO) in the works, the scrutiny of Shein’s ethical practices is only growing. Yes, Shein is eyeing to list in the U.S., pending Beijing’s approval. In fact, some American lawmakers are already throwing a wrench in Shein’s plan.
And rightly so.
With a bottomless inventory selling for crazy-affordable prices, it makes anyone wonder—is Shein playing fair? But the more important question is, is Shein using forced labor?
In 2022, Bloomberg discovered that Shein’s garments contained cotton produced in Xinjiang, China. The region is notorious for state-forced labor, particularly of the Muslim minority group Uyghur.
However, the brand claims a “zero-tolerance policy” for slavery, human trafficking, and all forms of human rights abuses. Shein adds that they have strict codes based on international labor laws for its army of third-party manufacturers and suppliers.
The ball is in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s court now. While it cannot block IPOs based on allegations, it can require a full disclosure of Shein’s supply chain.
Specifically, the SEC can enforce an independent certification that Shein doesn’t import products tainted with forced labor.
Tips on Shopping at Shein
Below are some tried-and-tested tips to make your shopping experience as smooth as silk (or polyester, depending on your pick!).
- Measure twice, order once.
- Steer clear of items without customer photos.
- Don’t just rely on the number of positive reviews—read them for guidance!
- Always check the banner on the homepage for exclusive offers.
- Never hit that checkout button without a discount code.
- Your first return in any order is free, so don’t forget the provided return label. (I repeat: This is a first-return-per-order deal!)
- If you’re shopping for an event, order your items several weeks in advance.
- Use the search filters to find exactly what you’re looking for without drowning in options.
- Collect Shein points by updating your profile, purchasing, leaving a review, and uploading product images. Use your points upon checkout.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Shein Good Quality?
Let’s be real—expecting clothes cheaper than your morning coffee to be future family heirlooms is a bit of a stretch. But hey, if you’re lucky, you can find Shein outfits of decent quality.
Some shoppers strike gold with their finds, while others end up with tales of regret—blame it on flimsy materials and weird fits.
Bargain hunting in Shein is hit-or-miss. Since it’s hard to judge outfits on product photos alone, your best bet is to head to the customer reviews.
Is Shein a Legitimate Website?
Shein is a legitimate online marketplace. The fashion company does ship out tons of items daily to all corners of the world.
In 2021, Shein overtook Amazon as the most downloaded shopping app on both Apple and Google app stores, and that’s saying something.
Is Shein Legit: The Verdict
So, is Shein legit?
Alright, drumroll, please!
Of course! Shein is a legit company, and it’s no joke—it’s valued in the billions!
In real life, Shein is a go-to for budget-friendly shopping. They’ve got tons of coupons, promo codes, and flash sales to make your shopping experience even sweeter.
The main catch, however, is the product quality. Those product pictures can get some heavy Photoshop action to catch your eye and deceive you.
So, before you hit that checkout button, check the size guides and read Shein reviews.