Shein, the e-commerce behemoth known for its $5 tees and $47 wedding dresses, may be coming to a mall near you.
Shein and Sparc Group Holdings, Forever 21’s operator, on Thursday announced a partnership between the fast-fashion rivals to expand the brands’ reach.
The collaboration is expected to make Forever 21 merchandise available on Shein’s website and app, which serves about 150 million online users. In turn, Shein will have the opportunity to test selling products and managing returns in shops located inside physical Forever 21 stores. The brand has more than 400 stores across the country.
“We are excited for the partnership with SHEIN as it reflects our shared vision of providing customers with unparalleled access to fashion at affordable prices,” Marc Miller, CEO of Sparc, said in a statement. “By working together, we will provide even more innovative and trendsetting products to fashion enthusiasts around the world.”
What the deal means
Under the agreement, Shein will acquire a one-third interest in Sparc, a joint venture that includes brand management company Authentic Brands Group and shopping mall owner Simon Property Group, while Sparc will become a minority shareholder in Shein.
The e-commerce company was valued at $66 billion earlier this year. The announcement did not disclose the financial details of the deal.
“The powerful combination of Simon’s leadership in physical retail, Authentic’s brand development expertise, and SHEIN’s on-demand model will help us drive scalable growth and together make fashion more accessible to all,” Shein Executive Chairman Donald Tang said in the release.
The agreement, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, comes as Shein faces pushback for its manufacturing practices. The company has been criticized for its environmental impact and copyright infringement, and some are concerned that the company relies on forced labor.
A group of bipartisan lawmakers earlier this year sent a letter asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to hold off a potential initial public offering until Shein could verify that it does not use forced labor from China’s Uyghur population, which is predominantly Muslim.
Shein has said that it has zero tolerance for items made with forced labor. The company has also worked to distance itself from China, and in 2021 moved its headquarters to Singapore.