by John Russel Jones

Shein, the global e-retailer, and Queen of Raw, a global circular economy technology company have announced a partnership to support Shein’s ambition to become a leading rescuer of high-quality deadstock materials. Through repurposing other brands’ excess inventory, the company will avoid consuming new textile resources, creating a blueprint for alternative business models that leverage circularity to mitigate textile waste and reduce the use of new raw materials.

To reach this goal, Shein is utilizing Queen of Raw’s proprietary software, Materia MX, to source existing materials from brands and retailers looking to responsibly clear out their excess fabric inventory rather than have it go to waste in landfills. According to Queen of Raw’s impact measuring algorithms, developed with the support of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Solve, diverting 1 million yards of fabrics from excess inventory would set the retailer on the trajectory to become one of the global leaders in repurposing deadstock materials, helping conserve water and preventing the creation of carbon dioxide equivalents that would have been generated through conventional production methods.

“We look forward to supporting one of the world’s leading retailers on its journey to transform its supply chain. Shein’s influence in the fashion industry aligns with our position as the global leader in measuring and reporting environmental impacts for excess inventory and waste streams across industries,” said Stephanie Benedetto, CEO of Queen of Raw. “Our technology empowers Shein to incorporate local deadstock textiles from other brands into its on-demand business model to optimize future inventory purchases. As a result, climate and water impacts are reduced while enhancing transparency.”

Automating Shein’s supply chain workflow through the software enables the verification of unused materials that meet both Shein’s sourcing requirements and Materia MX’s deadstock standard. These materials are then made available to Shein designers to incorporate into products sold on the Shein platform. The Materia MX platform also allows Shein to track and report the data in line with science-based standards. This collaboration is part of Shein’s larger commitment announced in 2022 to the World Circular Textile Day initiative, which calls for a fully circular textile industry by 2050.

“Partnering with Queen of Raw supports our advancement to a more circular system, starting with the design of our products,” said Caitrin Watson, director of sustainability at Shein. “Since Shein’s business model is to create products on demand, we don’t accumulate excess fabric liability, which is one of the biggest financial and sustainability challenges for the fashion industry. We are poised to purchase high-quality surplus materials, helping us to reduce the environmental impact of our products and become a circular solution for other businesses.”

The partnership with Queen of Raw contributes to Shein’s newly established sustainability roadmap, evoluShein. This framework, comprised of three key pillars – equitable empowerment, collective resilience, and waste-less innovation – builds on and further guides the company on its sustainability journey by addressing the most critical social and environmental challenges facing the fashion industry today.

Photo by Pixabay.