Woman talking(l+r), Hand holding phone with Shein app open(c)

Diego Thomazini/Shutterstock @thesecretlifeofeb/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘Fast fashion is making us sick’: Woman alleges Fashion Nova, Shein clothes can ‘cause cancer’

‘A lot of people don’t think about what we put on top of our body.’


Alexandra Samuels


Posted on Mar 31, 2024

A woman went viral on TikTok after calling out a number of fast-fashion brands, including Fashion Nova and Shein, which she said could cause cancer.

Ebony (@thesecretlifeofeb) posted the video to her account four days ago. As of Sunday, her clip had amassed over 1.4 million views. 

“FASHION NOVA CLOTHES MAY CAUSE CANCER,” Ebony wrote via text overlay.

In her video, Ebony further explained the risks associated with buying clothes from Fashion Nova and similar brands. 

“Fast fashion is making us sick,” she said. “And it’s not just Fashion Nova… Name a popular brand, and it fits the bill.”

Ebony took issue with Fashion Nova in particular, though, because the brand has a Prop 65 warning on its site. That warning, according to various news outlets, is a cautionary protocol required by California’s Proposition 65, which requires that all products manufactured with exposure to chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive issues, to have a warning label. 

“Some of you might be wondering: What’s in the clothes that’s causing them to have to post Prop 65?” Ebony asked incredulously. 

In short, the content creator said the warning is due to the fact that Fashion Nova doesn’t use natural fabrics, such as linen, cotton, or silk. 

“The majority of brands today are using polyester or some type of polyester blend,” Ebony said. The reason brands were doing this, she said, is because polyester is both cheaper and more “versatile.”
Meanwhile, polyurethane, which is used to make spandex, and Nylon, a “knock-off silk,” she said, are both made from petroleum. Ebony added, too, that Rayon or Viscose, both popular clothing fibers, are linked to serious health issues. 

“We’re becoming increasingly aware of stuff we put in our body,” Ebony said. “But a lot of people don’t think about what we put on top of our body—including clothes.”

Ebony ended her TikTok with a call-to-arms to viewers who buy from fast-fashion brands.

“I encourage you all to join me on a journey to revamp our closets,” she said. The content creator said her personal goal is to have a majority of her clothes—90%—made from natural fabrics. 

“We have the power to force these manufacturers to stop using petrochemicals that are, quite literally, un-aliving us,” she said. 

Indeed, there’s reported evidence suggesting that there are high levels of chemicals in some fast-fashion brands, including Shein. A 2021 investigation into Shein, according to Business Insider, found elevated levels of lead, and other chemicals linked to health problems, in samples of children’s, adult’s, and maternity clothes. In a statement to the outlet, Shein said that it “regularly test products and take action when non-compliance is found, including terminating suppliers.”

@thesecretlifeofeb Fast Fashion is making us Sick! Cancer warning is now up on Fashion Novas website but think of the others who aren’t required to list it. #fastfashion #fashionnova #nontoxicclothing #sustainablefashion #naturalfabrics #minimialist #momtok #viral ♬ original sound – Ebony B

Still, in the comments, viewers vowed to be more conscious about the clothes they purchase.

“Wool and linen. That’s what we should all be wearing,” one user said. 

“The exact reason im investing in quality over quantity,” another added. 

“I only buy 100% cotton for me and my son,” a third viewer wrote. “I spend more but oh well!” 

Others, however, expressed frustration at how difficult buying non-harmful clothes has become. 

“I’m exhausted…,” one person wrote.

“this is crazy! so food, clothes, hair products… every damn thing,” another said.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Ebony via TikTok comment and to Fashion Nova and Shein by email.

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*First Published: Mar 31, 2024, 7:19 pm CDT