The controversial Chinese fashion brand have established a new headquarters in the capital.
If you're in any way aware of the discourse around fast fashion brands, their treatment of workers and impact upon the environment, you'll know that Shein is a regular part of the conversation.
Shein has made headlines in the past for their exploitative labour practices, their selling of "swastika" necklaces and the toxic chemicals reportedly used in the production of their clothes. Channel 4 documentary Inside the Shein Machine uncovered countless grim revelations about the brand, such as workers allegedly being permitted just one day off per month and having 75% of their salary withheld if they made a mistake - so why is our Minister for Enterprise celebrating their arrival in Ireland?
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney could be seen cutting the ribbon at the opening of the new Shein offices in Dublin last week, saying “It is a vote of confidence that another global leader has chosen Ireland to launch their EMEA HQ and highlights that we have the environment to attract FDI companies to our shores.”
Minister Simon Coveney attended the opening ceremony for Shein's new Dublin office. Image by Shein Ireland.
Understandably, Minister Coveney has faced widespread backlash for his support of the brand - as reported by the Independent, People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy said: “I think it’s outrageous that Simon Coveney would support Shein in such a way given the record of the company in terms of labour rights, human rights, and environmental protection.”
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil MEP Barry Andrews told Newstalk that Shein's new offices here would put "Ireland's reputation on the line".
Obviously, we're no strangers to having multinational companies set up here - the low tax allure just keeps conglomerates coming back for more. But does that mean we need to welcome every company with open arms, and have our country representatives smiling and cutting ribbons for brands that have been widely condemned?
It's probably as good a time as any to gently redirect your attention to some of Ireland's great vintage and sustainable businesses - plenty of great places to spend your pennies, that won't harm the environment or anyone else in the process.
Header image via Shutterstock