This Woman Called Out Fast Fashion Retailer Shein For Selling Prayer Mats As Fancy Rugs. That’s Very Tone-Deaf Of The Brand
Shein has made headlines a number of times in the past, and not exactly for the right reasons. Be it the cheap, disposable quality of its clothes or the ethical concerns regarding its low prices, Shein has faced backlash from the netizens time and again. Once again, it has come under a lot of fire for yet another reason.While before it would offended people who would seek quality, this time it managed to offend a whole community on the religious basis. Unluckily for Shein, nothing can be hidden from social media hawks.
The UK version of Shein was called out for selling Islamic prayer mats as decorative fringe carpets under their homeware section. The mats priced at £14 were passed off the Greek tassle trim carpets with the Kaaba, which is the building at the center of the most important mosque in Islam, the one in Mecca, printed on them. This outraged the customers who demanded that product be removed and the online retailer should issue an apology.
It was a journalism student and Muslim activist Khadija R who brought the issue to everyone’s attention through her Instagram post. She said in her post, “I am disgusted. I am livid. @sheinofficial is also PROFITING off Muslim prayer mats (janemaz/sajadah) by selling them as ‘fringe trim carpets’ for people to use casually around the house.”
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Social media critics soon blasted the global clothing brand with comments for the irresponsible and insensitive placing of the product. A twitter user wrote, “You have got to be joking. SHEIN really taking prayer mats and reselling it like this? RELIGIOUS PRAYER MATS??????? AS RUGS?” Another user wrote, “Not only is it disrespectful but they once again renamed and stole credit from a whole faith this time, by failing to label it as a muslim prayer mat; which allows people to use it casually as a decorative mat (sic).”
Shein issued an apology post on their social media for the disrespectful move. It was captioned, “To our community – we made a serious mistake recently by selling prayer mats as decorative rugs on our site. We understand this was a highly offensive oversight and are truly sorry. Since it was brought to our attention, we immediately removed the products from our site and asked our vendor to stop selling to others.”
“As a global brand, we vow to do a much better job in educating ourselves on different cultures, religions, and traditions to ensure our diverse community is respected and honored. We offer our sincerest apology to all whom we have hurt and offended, and hope we can earn your forgiveness.”
Apparently, they have taken down the product from the website and affirmed that they will now hire a team of employees from different religions and cultures to review the product so they don’t make the mistake again. Why couldn’t they do it earlier?
It is not the first time Khadija has railed against Shein for cultural appropriation. A few days ago she called out the retailer for profiting off the ethnic and traditional outfits and jewellery pieces from South Asia and rebranding them as bohemian or tribal rather than crediting the culture.
We hope that from this episode, Shein and other global brands and retailers be a little less oblivious to the cultural implications of the product they sell. This is just tone-deaf. Of course, right now in India, the app is banned so getting your hands on fast and cheap fashion from this brand is out of the question.