Successful Chinese fashion giant Shein copies designs from Spanish Zara

by Lorraine Williamson
Does Shein copy from the catwalk

MADRID – The Instagram hashtag #Zaradupe makes it clear: The Chinese fashion giant Shein, comparable to fast fashion chains such as Zara and H&M, comes with numerous designs that are copied one-on-one from the Spanish fashion chain, Zara. 

The Chinese retailer seems inspired by the garments of the new collection of the fashion chain Zara belonging to Inditex. They also produces them clearly one-to-one. Dresses, shoes, blouses and trousers even have the same striking model. Furthermore, they are even made of the same colours and patterns of fabric. 

Shein is the most profitable company right now 

In April, the Business of Fashion website revealed that Shein has become the most profitable company at the moment. The Chinese retailer is said to have quadrupled its income in the past three years to $15.7 billion in sales. 

Those are numbers that confirm the popularity of a company that has surpassed Zara and H&M in just a few years. In fact, Shein is currently worth more than the Spanish and Swedish fashion brands combined. 

$1 Billion Investment 

The article also said that those responsible for Shein are in negotiations to close a $1 billion investment. That would mean it would become the third most valuable start-up in the world, behind ByteDance (owner of TikTok) and Space X (Elon Musk’s company). 

Nearly identical designs 

However, the controversy that has arisen on social networks obscures this success. Shein triumphs there with his policy toward influencers. The company gives away clothes and influencers show them to their followers. Previously, the Instagram account @Dupesnation revealed the nearly identical designs for sale at Zara and Shein, but this account seems to have gone offline early May.  


In fact, several hashtags have been registered, such as #sheinstolemydesign, #zaradupe (Zara copy), #Sheindupe and #zaravsshein showing that the Chinese retailer is inspired, and to an extraordinary extent, by the garments of the collections launched by the firm Inditex. 

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Amazing Similarity 

The truth is that the resemblance is stunning in almost every case. Sometimes the fabric is just a bit different or detail is not the same, but at first glance, all clothing and shoes are practically the same. Consumers will therefore find an inexpensive version of the prom dress that Zara launched less than two weeks ago at Shein, which is also available in other shades. 

Shein also steals models from luxury brands 

Shein has made replicas of a pareo skirt, and various models of dresses, trousers and also sandals. Also unveiled re Shein’s versions inspired by clothing and accessories from luxury brands such as Valentino, Fendi, Versace and Bottega Veneta. 

‘Copying shortens the delivery time’ 

The British newspaper The Guardian quotes Alex Crumbie of the Ethical Consumer group about these blatant copies in the fast fashion sector. “These brands often replicate fashion seen elsewhere and bring it to market within a week. Therefore, copying designs shortens the delivery time,” he emphasises. 

Little known of Shein 

In the statements, Crumbie also claims not to know how they produce so quickly and cheaply. “There’s not a lot of information about Shein. They must have supply chains all over the world where they can keep costs down, but we don’t know where,” he says. 

Shein denies 

Regarding these allegations, a spokesperson for Shein has denied that the company copies other companies, especially Zara. “Shein’s suppliers are required to adhere to the company’s code of conduct and to certify that their products do not infringe on the intellectual property of third parties.” 

Other companies with designs copied by Shein  

Legal action has already been taken against Shein for alleged copyright infringement, including from international companies such as Levi Strauss, the Dr Martens producer AirWair International and Ralph Lauren. 

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