Misleading TikTok Video Claims Shein Clothing Tags Contain Cries for Help

A viral video shows authentic depictions of messages prepared by “fast fashion” garment staff pleading for help at Shein and other corporations.


Most of the images included in a viral TikTok online video, which decries the labor procedures of Shein and other so-called “fast fashion” brands, were deceptive. They ended up not from incidents in which real notes from folks trying to get help had been observed in garments deals. Nonetheless, in at minimum two cases, the origins of the notes were being unclear, and the final results of investigations launched when they were observed ended up unidentified to us as of this composing.

Truth Examine

In early June 2022, various social media customers claimed they identified messages from garment employees on clothes tags from Shein and other providers that contained cries for help.

In quite a few posts, folks uploaded photos of a tag that go through, “Tumble dry, do not dry clear. Owing to the h2o preserving technological innovation, require your aid washing with the gentle detergent at the initial time to make the items softer.” In this article is a screenshot of 1 tweet containing the picture, with the Twitter user’s name cropped out for privateness:

Text, Electronics, Phone

Regardless of what the caption states, it is unclear from the genuine photograph what brand name of clothes this tag is attached to. It furthermore looks clear that the phrase “need your help” is not a cry for help but awkwardly worded washing recommendations for the garment in problem. We sent an e mail to Shein asking no matter whether the tag previously mentioned was attached to its clothes, and will update when and if we obtain a response.

Shein posted a video clip to its official TikTok account debunking claims that the “cry for help” and other viral photographs have been similar to their model, stating:

“Shein takes source chain matters critically,” the assertion reads. “Our rigorous Code of Perform consists of procedures towards youngster and forced labor and we do not tolerate non-compliance.”

Some claimed that the phrase “need your help” was a concealed information. We identified no proof to that impact, specially contemplating the phrase seems as component of a longer sentence that has a different which means.

The Viral TikTok Movie

A commonly seen TikTok video clip contained photographs of tags with many messages looking for assistance on them, with the clear broader concept that speedy vogue providers use garment workers underneath such deplorable situations that they attain out in desperation by using surreptitious messages on clothes labels.

It is no magic formula that the garment market has been credibly accused of lousy and exploitative performing disorders. That stated, the TikTok video clip is misleading, in that not all of the photographs integrated in the online video could be described as rapidly manner garments tags. Some of the pictures ended up screenshots taken from older information stories, when many others have been not essentially connected to stories about garment labor.

A single image from the video clip, which as of this producing had been viewed much more than 40 million periods, displays a woman towards a backdrop of a FedEx bundle that has the earth “Help” scrawled in ink on the exterior. In that situation, it is unclear who wrote “Help” on the deal on the other hand, it is not likely that garment personnel would have entry to a package deal at the position of shipping and delivery. It appears extra very likely it was created by a person together the delivery chain from delivery to acquiring. Apart from the caption included by the TikTok consumer, we discovered no labeling on the package deal alone showing it was despatched by Shein:

Person, Human, Text

1 of the notes in the online video read through “Help me plz” handwritten on a cardboard slip. According to news stories, this notice was allegedly uncovered in 2015 by a Brighton, Michigan, woman inside of a packet of underwear. The underwear was a product of Handcraft Manufacturing of New York but manufactured in the Philippines. A news report indicated the notice was prepared by a lady allegedly named “MayAnn,” and incorporated a telephone range. The clothing maker launched an investigation immediately after the take note was located, the result of which stays unclear to us.

Yet another tag in TikTok online video allegedly states, “I have dental suffering.” Once again, even so, there’s no evidence the tag is real. A reverse image research displays this distinct photo has been on line because at least 2016, turning up periodically as an instance of a “funny” clothes tag:

In a further impression involved in the online video, a tag that claims “help me” is on a packaging label for the clothing brand name Romwe, a trend manufacturer centered in China:

But this was not a message of distress. Romwe resolved that concern in 2018, posting on Fb this explanation:

Romwe’s solutions, bookmarks we involved as a reward to some prospects, was named “Help Me Bookmarks” (remember to see picture beneath). Some individuals saw the item’s tag and believed it was a concept from those who manufactured the things. It was not! It was just the item’s name!

We are so sorry for the confusion. We have now renamed the products, Romwe Emblem Bookmark.

Yet another picture included in the TikTok online video was from a 2014 news product:

Text, Document, Handwriting

The information has the alert “SOS” prepared on best adopted by a concept created in Chinese people. The picture comes from a 2014 BBC information tale about the be aware, which was found on a pair of pants ordered at a Primark clothes retailer in Belfast, Northern Eire, and was discussed this way by BBC:

“The observe, wrapped in a prison identity card, claimed inmates ended up compelled to operate 15 hours a working day building outfits.”

Primark told the BBC it launched an investigation and stated the pants had been sold various many years before the information tale broke, and inspections of its offer chain since the time they were being created uncovered “no jail or other forced labour of any kind was located.”

A further photo in the TikTok movie has a stock photograph, not a picture of an authentic garments tag:

In that picture, the watermark for inventory photo business Alamy can be viewed.

Statements that some apparel have concealed messages are common online — and at times genuine. For illustration, in 2020, outside brand name Patagonia offered clothing labeled “Vote the assholes out” as part of the company’s activism about climate alter denialism. Yet another message on the outfits label Tom Bihn went viral in 2004, and was (falsely) claimed to be qualified at previous U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.


Secret Deepens Immediately after Michigan Girl Finds “Help Me” Notice In Underwear. 25 Sept. 2015, https://detroit.cbslocal.com/2015/09/25/thriller-deepens-soon after-michigan-girl-finds-aid-notice-in-underwear/.

“Primark Investigates Assert of ‘cry for Help’ Note in Trousers.” BBC News, 25 June 2014. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/united kingdom-northern-ireland-28018137.