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Untold: Inside The Shein Machine

Shein has been shooting for the stars with its super fast production and cheap prices. With endless new items added to its site daily Shein has become increasingly popular. As a Gen Z favourite, it has led to many doing #sheinhauls on Instagram or Tik Tok. The prices are so cheap that customers impulsively buy lots of clothing from Shein and only wear them once if not at all.

Untold: Inside The Shein Machine is a documentary investigation by UK broadcaster Channel 4 that reveals what is happening behind closed doors at the fast-fashion clothing brand Shein and it is worse than you thought.

Read ahead to learn more about the documentary Untold: Inside The Shein Machine.

The focus of the new documentary is on Shein’s employee policies by sending an undercover worker inside two supply factories in Guangzhou, China. The documentary reveals that workers make 500 pieces of clothing per day, have long 18-hour days and are given only one day off a month. There is no room for error. If workers make a mistake on a clothing item they are heavily penalised two-thirds of their daily wage.

Under Chinese labour laws workers cannot work more than 40 hours per week but the documentary reveals that workers in both factories worked 18-hours a day and have no weekends off, with a Shein worker explaining in the documentary, “There's no such thing as Sundays here."

Workers are extremely underpaid. The documentary shows that workers in one factory earn a salary of 4,000 yuan per month, approximately R10 118,15, to make 500 items of clothing per day. Channel 4 found that workers make as little as 4 US cents a garment and wash their hair during their lunch breaks as they have no other time in the day.

By Tamar Hayden

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