Reality sometimes seems to go beyond caricature. In Paris last September 21 as part of the demonstration Paris Retail “The week has been worrying.” Debate between French Industrial Forces, 1083, and Shein. face to face with reality “. On stage were representatives of the two companies, emblems of opposing economic models. China’s ultra-fast fashion and consumerism giant Shein has taken it to the extreme with its products produced under highly contentious environmental and human rights conditions (especially forced labor) and sold at sky-high prices. And 1083, manufacturer of eco-designed jeans and made in franceHe is a member of the French Forces of Industry, an association that brings together entrepreneurs working with a short-circuit and social responsibility approach. But if “ face to face with reality » when it occurred, it was by the absence of debate rather than by debate involving the exchange of ideas and arguments. Peter Day, Shein’s head of strategy, was notable above all for his use of evasion. “ I can’t give an exact number. ” was one of the main motivations for their interventions, whether it was the return rate of products, unsold items or the company’s turnover ($ 22.7 billion in 2022, according to the Economic Diary). echoes). “ 12 million euros in 1083 », replied Thomas Huriez, president and founder of the company.
“ We are trying to do better»
While Shein highlights the contradictions between the CSR promises on its website and the reality of the company’s practices, the art of evasion has not always been enough. Regarding the sustainability of the economic modelWe try to limit overproduction “, for example, declared Peter Day. Thomas Huriez noted that it was a difficult statement to hear given the heavy promotional practices on the products… several times,” we are trying to do better“, replied Peter Day, asking whether this was due to overproduction or the heavily used air transport for deliveries.
Peter Day, questioned by the public about polluting products found in clothing and the possible use of forced labor (for Uyghurs in China), was condemned by GreenPeace and an American organization, which confirmed that the company had the following policy: ” zero tolerance forced labor » said it had thousands of inspections of its suppliers and 300,000 chemical tests on its products. ” NEGATIVEOur security requirements are quite high. Suppliers cannot use prohibited substances ” he explained.
At the end of the meeting ” I have a hard time believing you », Laurent Moisson, co-founder of Forces Françaises de l’Industrie, interjected. This highlighted an additional point that differentiates the two economic models: transparency for one, opacity for the other. While black and white rarely exist in reality, opacity, by definition, makes it possible to hide shadow areas. One wonders why Shein decided to feature them…