Three American designers have sued Chinese ultra-fast-fashion webshop Shein for repeatedly copying designs. In fact, they call the scale and system by which such copying is done Mafia-like.
Three Californian illustrators claim Shein copied their work, and then they reported this to the Chinese company, they got no further than a “consolation fee” worth 500 dollar and some excuses to shrug off responsibility.
This is no coincidence, but rather the Chinese company’s modus operandi, the three claim in their lawsuit. According to them, Shein steals at random and takes no responsibility for it. The creators believe that nine out of ten victims settle for “alms” because the “Byzantine tangle of structures” used by the e-commerce player make it difficult to hold anyone responsible, Belgian newspaper De Tijd reports.
Pattern of extortion
Interestingly, the prosecutors are turning to laws normally used for Mafia practices and large-scale corruption. They paint Shein’s practices as a pattern of extortion and organised crime. The lawsuit could not have come at a worse time for Shein, which is trying to clean up its image in preparation of a planned American IPO.
Shein has also been accused of slavery and exploitation, of mass pollution and of destroying the market. This week, French Secretary of State for Ecology, Bérangère Couillard, also said that Shein’s business model causes immense damage to the environment, people and the textile sector. She therefore expressed determination to fight it.