What do we know about Shein and the posters workers are supposed to ask for help?

In recent days, they have spread on websites and social networks, especially in tik tokVarious videos featuring low-cost brand clothing labels it is in Where you can read messages asking for help.

Although some of the posters posted are not branded, outdated, or come from image banks, others belong to the company’s clothing. We tell them what we know.

“Need your help”: a phrase in the middle of the label that set off the alarms

En redes, multitud de usuarios (ver ejemplo 1, 2, 3 y 4) han compartido la misma etiqueta en la que se puede leer, en mitad de las indicaciones de lavado y planchado, la frase “need your help” (necesito tu ayuda , in Spanish). Our collaborator, Daniela, also sent us a photo of the label for a piece of clothing I ordered on April 2, where the supposed help message can also be read.

Poster photos shared on networks with the photo we sent the Damned Ones (left). (Factchecked.com)

As we say, these labels indicate washing and ironing recommendations and have the words “I want your help” on them. We read in all those shared on the networks: Wash with the same colours. Wash outside in a cold machine. […] blot out. Do not use dry cleaning due to the water saving technology, you need to help you wash with soft detergent at the first time to make the goods softer”.

Which translated into Spanish would be: “Wash in similar colors. Wash outside in a cold machine.” […] blot out. Do not use dry cleaning due to water saving technology, I need your help by washing with mild detergent the first time to make the clothes softer. “

With regard to these designations, Shein spoke through her official TikTok accounts (in general and in those of the Mexican delegation) noting that they are “poorly written” and that they are “asking customers to help keep the fabric soft with a milder detergent.”. Similarly, from cursed We contacted Shein’s outreach department where they limited themselves to mentioning these shared videos on their TikTok profiles.

Screenshots from videos posted on TikTok by Shein Mexico and Shein oficial.
Screenshots from videos posted on TikTok by Shein Mexico and Shein oficial. (Factchecked.com)

Since we were able to check in Maldita.es, the labeling of the clothes of this Chinese company in which washing and ironing instructions are given has changed from last year to the present and in the most recent of these alleged calls for help.

On the left, old Shen's description.  On the right, the new labels with the supposed distress call on them.
On the left, old Shen’s description. On the right, the new labels with the supposed distress call on them. (Factchecked.com)

In theory, alleged calls for help by Shein workers went viral after a The video was also posted on TikTok (Currently reaching over 100,000 likes) It will feature a purported shipment of the Chinese brand with the word “Help” handwritten on the package. The video was accompanied by the caption, “SHEIN’s children are asking for help.” Despite the fact that Shein TikTok’s profile guarantees that this is a “false”, from Maldita.es we could not independently verify it.

On the left, a screenshot of the video Shein posted on TikTok.  On the right, a screenshot of the original content showing the packaging with the word
On the left, a screenshot of the video Shein posted on TikTok. On the right, a screenshot of the original content showing the packaging with the word “help” written on it. (Factchecked.com)

Labels that do not correspond to the Chinese company

As a result of the widespread spread of these supposed help messages, other photos, on the contrary, that are not current or belong to the low-cost Chinese company, have been published. In one of those posted and confirming that it belongs to Shein, you can read “I have a toothache” (“I have a toothache”, in Spanish). However, by doing a reverse image search on Bing, we verified that the image started going viral in 2014 on networks like Imgur or Reddit without being associated with the company.


On other posters, which have also been linked to Shane, the word “help” is seen written in English with a red flag. The image is actually from the Alamy Picture Bank and was taken in Bangladesh.


Images associated with Shein (see Examples 1 and 2) from other posters have also been posted as if current. On this occasion, signs are taken from the Chinese brand Romwe, where you can also read the message “Help me” (help me, in Spanish). The photo was shared in 2018 by a Twitter user. Although the post is currently deleted, you can see tweets from other accounts in the replies that also display Romwe tags (with a different order history) with the phrase “help me”.

PublicEye investigation that exposed conditions of Shein workers

Despite its influence on social networks and the popularity of the brand, Shein is not transparent about its income and provides little information on its website about the company (in December 2020, a report in Chinese media claimed that the company made nearly $10 this year. Billion). In November 2021, Public Eye released a report on the working conditions of workers in this cheap textile giant.

After interviewing workers and suppliers for the brand in Guangzhou, the city in the south of the country where it is headquartered, the Swiss NGO revealed that the workshops had no emergency exits, their windows had bars and that employees had no work contracts…and their working hours It exceeds 75 working hours per week, which is in violation of Chinese labor law, according to Public Eye.

Regarding working conditions for its workers, Shein asserts in the aforementioned TikTok post that its “code of conduct is strict” and that it “prohibits suppliers from using child labor, forced labor or labor exploitation.” They add, “We do not tolerate any kind of behavior that does not respect what is ethical and legal.” In response to users who reminded them of their lack of transparency regarding their employees’ working conditions, the company has limited itself to responding as follows: “We know we have to do more to show you who we are. We’ll be posting more content to show you soon.”

In any case, Shein isn’t the only textile giant affected by the alleged requests for help on its clothing labels. As it was published by CNN in 2014 and denounced AI, a customer found a note with SOS (help) messages on a pair of Primark jeans she bought, prompting the low-cost fashion company to confirm it was investigating the origins of what happened. In fact, this same photo has now gone viral and is related to Shane.

This is an article in partnership with Factchequeado, a vehicle for building a Spanish speaking community to counter Spanish misinformation in the United States. Do you want to be a part? Join and check the contents you receive by sending them to WhatsApp + 1646-873-6087 or to factchequeado.com/whatsapp

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