Woman slams Shein for using her photo in advertisement—and editing her face

@imsimplynessa/TikTok jetcityimage/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘They better write you a check’: Woman slams Shein for using her photo in advertisement—and editing her face

'I swear some of the faces on these shirts they sell look real familiar too.'


Beau Paul


Posted on May 3, 2024   Updated on May 3, 2024, 11:15 am CDT

Is China-based fast-fashion retailer Shein up to something fishy? One woman claims the online clothing retailer appropriated her image for sales purposes —and to add insult to injury, she says they heavily edited the photo as well.

TikToker and fitness vlogger Simplynessa15 (@imsimplynessa) makes the allegation against Shein in a video posted to her account on Thursday. The video has already picked up 54,000 views and counting.

“OK, I need to tell you what the f*ck Shein did with my photo because I am generally so confused right now,” she says in the video’s opening.

“So here’s the original photo,” she states, showing a picture of herself that she says was taken in 2018. Nessa appears in the photo wearing box braids, some of which have been done up in space buns atop her head.

“Please do not laugh; I was in the clutch of blue contacts for a very long time,” she says of the picture.

“Now, let me show you what they [Shein] posted on their website,” she says, showing another picture featuring what appears to be the same hair from the first photo.

The photo appears to be from an advertisement for a pack of braiding hair, but it does not feature any logo or other indication of where it is from. However, the face in the image appears very different from Nessa’s.

Her eyebrows appear to be the same in both photos, but the second image has been heavily edited to make her face and nose appear longer, and her eyes appear darker and more made up.

“No, but like, who is this?” Nessa asks her viewers. “Like, y’all could have used any other photo, a different person, but instead somebody spent the time to edit the f*ck out of my photo.”

“Like, they kept the lips, but they changed the nose, they changed the eyes; they were not happy with those features,” she says.

@imsimplynessa #greenscreen WHY SHEIN? LMFAOOOO #shein #faceapp #fyp #random ♬ Sneaky Snitch – Kevin MacLeod

Nessa is not the first Black woman to accuse Shein of image appropriation. In April of last year, Black Enterprise ran a story featuring Black lifestyle blogger Dominique A., who also claimed that the retailer used her “image for a product labeled ‘Clip In Extra Straight Synthetic Hair Extensions.'”

Dominique alleged that Shein “photoshopped [the picture] to make her appear more fair-skinned with European features.”

Hip-hop organizer and consultant Khafre Jay posted about Dominique’s story on his LinkedIn page and stated, “Y’all are cold-hearted people for doing her like this. The practice of companies like SHEIN photoshopping #BlackModels to appear whiter is a blatant act of racist B.S., and we all know it perpetuates and upholds #whitesupremacist beauty standards.”

Shein is currently facing a class-action lawsuit that claims the corporation uses an “industrial-scale scheme of systematic, digital copyright infringement” against artists and designers. According to Retail Dive, attorneys for the case have stated, “widespread copyright infringement is baked into the [Shein] business.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Shein via email for a statement.

In the comments section of Nessa’s video, many viewers encouraged her to seek payment from Shein.

“Girl they better write you a check,” honeybunnyy555 (@honeybunnyy555) wrote.

Another viewer simply added, “GET YO CHECK GIRL.”

“Just guessing but maybe they edited it so much because then technically, it wouldn’t be stealing your photo. It’s a completely different person,” another viewer joked.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Nessa via email for further comment.

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*First Published: May 3, 2024, 7:00 pm CDT