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Walk your talk: Why Miss Universe Philippines x SHEIN is hypocritical

The Miss Universe Philippines season has come and gone. With all the hustle and bustle, Miss Universe Philippines “does not feel any pressure right now”, staying silent after people reacted to one stark sponsor of the glamorous event that might have been a wrong move. 

On Instagram, Miss Universe PH revealed the long list of sponsors working towards crowning the country’s best bet for the next Miss Universe pageant. Among others, CopperMask was included as one of these. The facemask company faced some controversy in the past with issues such as the effectiveness of its protection against COVID-19, though they’ve been put to rest.  

The sponsor that took the spotlight (in a bad way) was Shein. The post’s caption exclaims that the “finalists are ready to shine” in Shein’s apparel. Instagram users were not shy to let the organization know their thoughts on this choice. 

Shein has made quite the name for itself. First, as an up-and-coming online retailer, but later as a brand that might be more ethical to avoid.

Miss Universe Philippines x Shein
via Instagram

Shein’s ultra-fast business model means that it continues to pump out trendy clothes while removing what isn’t selling. Considering that trends don’t always last for too long, Shein is constantly in production. This hyper-speed fast fashion business model leads to an overconsumption of clothing materials resulting in massive textile waste. 

This quick production pace may also lead to the lower quality of their products, subbing out cheaper and flimsier materials. Despite the quality of the materials, the synthetic fabrics used may take even longer to decay than others. So, not only is Shein producing mountains of waste, but they are also producing mountains of waste that are going to be staying there for a very long time. 

If their hurried production wasn’t sketchy enough, Shein has also been known to lack transparency regarding the working conditions in their factories. When you stop and think about how much work needs to get done because of Shein’s fast fashion business model, a lot of questions are raised about Shein’s employees. 

While Shein has claimed that they are upholding the global standards for appropriate working conditions, they’ve only been just that: claims. Making claims rather than showing concrete proof. 

Shein also has a history of selling some culturally inappropriate and offensive items. First, selling traditional Muslim prayer mats as “casual carpets”

After taking down these items (without any sort of recognition or remorse on their part), Shein proceeded to release a necklace with a Buddhist swastika charm. Despite the symbol’s deep roots within Asian and Buddhist cultures, it could not go unacknowledged.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by SHEIN.COM (@sheinofficial)

Contestants and winners of the Miss Universe are frequently involved in community projects, being hands-on in working towards a better future. While, on the other hand, Shein continues to negatively affect the environment, is ambiguous about its employees working conditions, and has repeatedly shown a lack of sensitivity and respect towards different cultures and independent artists. 

Shein is notorious for repeatedly stealing clothing designs and patterns from online designers and small business owners. Multiple people have stepped forward online to bring awareness to this.

Miss Universe Philippines Phenomenal Woman Shein controversy
via Instagram
via Instagram

Miss Universe generally aims to uplift women, with this year’s Miss Universe Philippines’ posts usually sporting the hashtags #PhenomenalWoman and #InspireYou. What’s so inspiring about the idea of “stealing” concepts from other people to create your own profit? 

Having Shein as the official clothing sponsor for this year’s Miss Universe Philippines also begs the question: are there no local brands or designers that could have done the job and adhere to the same values and beliefs as Miss Universe?

via Instagram

In the time that we are living in, people even questioned the purpose of conducting a pageant of this scale in the first place. The general retort was that this would serve to further unify our country, inspiring Filipinos to keep pushing forward. Although, it may be just a bit difficult to be united and inspired when their words don’t always align with their actions.

 

Other POP! stories you might like:

It’s time to drop SHEIN from your future online shopping hauls

The best memes of Miss Universe Philippines 2021

Haute couture at fast fashion prices? Look no further than virtual clothing

How fashion brought positivity to Gen Z during the pandemic

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