Woman orders purse off of Shein, finds out what it’s made of after cutting it open

@emperkyxxxx/TikTok FellowNeko/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘At least they’re reusing and recycling’: Woman orders purse off of Shein, finds out what it’s made of after cutting it open

‘The way my mouth dropped.’


Stacy Fernandez


Mega retailer Shein is taking the whole “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” thing quite literally.

If you grew up in the States, you’ve likely been told since childhood that in addition to using less environment-harming packaging (like plastics) and recycling what we have, we also have to find creative ways to repurpose what enters our homes. That can include simple things like keeping takeout containers to use as Tupperware, repurposing an old mug as a planter, or using grocery store bags as trash bags around the house.

Well, Shein, known for mass-producing all styles of clothing and accessories, has taken things to the next level, and some people are conflicted.

In a viral video with a whopping 8.8 million views in just two days, a Shein customer showed the surprising thing she found in her Shein wallet.

See, @emperkyxxxx (whose only public video is this viral Shein one) recently bought what appears to be a black faux crocodile skin wallet/purse from the online retailer. But after using it, she says one of her cards got stuck in the inner crevices of the item.

After a few unsuccessful attempts to get it out, @emperkyxxxxhad says she had to rip open the item to free her card. She wasn’t expecting to see that the inside structure of the purse was made of a very familiar material.

“Pov: your card gets stuck in the purse you brought from shein so you have to rip it and you find out it’s made out of a covid testing kit box,” @emperkyxxxx said.

In the video, one can clearly see that what’s giving the wallet its structure is a two-pack COVID test kit. It’s certainly a… creative way to recycle the cardboard packaging. In the long run, we wonder if it would have caused issues given that 1. it’s a flimsy cardboard, and 2. cardboard doesn’t withstand water well.

We’re also left wondering if this is the company’s attempt at sustainability or if it just keeps the products cheap.

@emperkyxxxx caught me off guard @SHEIN ♬ original sound – Sound Central

Why fast fashion is bad for the environment

Shein has long been accused of unethical and harmful environmental practices. Fast fashion is harmful to the planet as it feeds into a cycle of constantly making new clothes to keep up with trends, especially as trend cycles have gotten faster (it used to be that trends came four times a year, but now they’re constant).

Fast fashion relies on a ton of energy, water, and synthetic materials (that don’t break down the way natural ones like cotton do) that lead to pollution. And not only does producing the clothes in mass in factories leave a huge carbon footprint, international shipping also adds to it.

As of May 2023, Shein got the lowest possible Good On You sustainability rating.

“Aside from using a couple of lower-impact materials here and there, there is no evidence the brand is taking any meaningful action to reduce its substantial impact on the environment,” Good On You reports.

“From hazardous chemicals to carbon emissions to microplastics, SHEIN is making zero effort that we can see. It follows an unsustainable fast fashion model with quickly changing trends and regular new styles. On top of that, brands mass-producing such cheap, poorly-made clothing perpetuate a throwaway fashion culture simply by existing. SHEIN would have to do a complete 180 to raise its score in this area,” Good On You continues.

Mixed reactions

People in the comments section of the viral video had mixed reactions.

“I think that’s cool though!! Reusing and recycling is better than making more cardboard or wtv material for the wallet,” a person said.

“My phone case from shein was made out of a my little pony trading card,” another shared.

And it seems they may not be the only fast fashion brand using recycled materials.

“I remember I had a pair of ballet flats that I got from Forever New in 2011 saw they were made from a tomato box when they fell apart,” a customer wrote.

The Daily Dot reached out to @emperkyxxxx via TikTok comment and to Shein via email.

The internet is chaotic—but we’ll break it down for you in one daily email. Sign up for the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter here to get the best (and worst) of the internet straight into your inbox.

Share this article

*First Published:

The Daily Dot