MadameNoire Featured Video

Lifestyle influencer Destene Sudduth and wellness coach Aujene are catching heat online after their recent visit to a factory owned by the controversial Chinese retail brand Shein. 

On June 21, the popular internet stars appeared in a short mini-series on the company’s TikTok page that gave consumers an inside look into the packaging and design standards enforced at the retailer’s factory in Guangzhou, China.

In the short clip, the Black internet stars share glowing reviews about the company’s “innovation station,” where automated bots were filmed working alongside staff to help process and package orders. 

The video paints a very different picture of Shein after their 2022 controversy. Last year, the popular fashion brand admitted to breaching rules around working hours and was also accused of underpaying their factory staff. 


But the clip appears to dispel those rumors. In the short video, Aujene, Destene, model Dani Carbonari, and Shein designer Kenya Freeman walked around the factory to tackle some pressing questions about the company’s allegations of labor abuse. To their surprise, the internet stars find staff working in a clean and sterile factory with high-tech gadgets that help to design and package the clothing efficiently.

In a follow-up video, Aujene conducted a brief interview with one of the managers, who maintained that there was no child labor or unfair standards being practiced at the facility.

But some users online aren’t buying into the new docu-series.

Viewers pointed out that the influencers only saw one of the 6,000 factories owned by the retail giant and that the company could very well be hiding their alleged “sweatshops.”  A few Twitter users speculated whether the influencers were paid to visit the factory in an attempt to take the heat off the company’s allegations.  Some internet detectives claimed that the visit to Guangzhou was a PR stunt.

Naysayers didn’t stop there.

One user accused the influencers of showing “zero empathy or awareness” for those working “grueling” hours in the factory with their glowing reviews of the company.


All of the backlash online is warranted. In 2022, Channel 4 aired an investigative piece where an undercover worker filmed inside two Shein factories in Guangzhou and made startling discoveries. According to The Independent, the documentary revealed that workers were paid 4,000 yuan per month, the equivalent of 556 U.S. Dollars, to make 500 pieces of clothing per day.

The scathing investigation also found that workers at both factories were toiling away for up to 18 hours a day and only given one day off a month to help produce Shein clothing.

After conducting an independent investigation, the company admitted that factory employees were working up to “13-and-a-half hour days with two to three days off a month, while those at the second site worked up to 12-and-a-half hour days with no fixed structure for days off,” the article noted.

At the time, Shein vowed to allocate $15 million USD to help improve factory standards at both Guangzhou locations. But it’s unclear whether any improvements have been made.

Destene and Aujene posted follow-up videos about their visit.

On Instagram, Aujene offered more insight into the labor law discussion in a follow-up video uploaded to her account. The wellness advocate claimed that independent contractors were hired to “conduct over 2500 audits annually” to ensure that the company is following international labor laws.

“Y’all, an inspector is able to stop by anytime to make sure that these rules are abided by,” the beautiful influencer added in the video. In the caption, Aujene claimed that when she asked some of the workers about the allegations of labor abuse, many looked at her as if she was “crazy.”

“When asking a few of the workers & employees about these topics everyone we came across was content with their salary and the idea of child labor was something they looked at me crazy for y’all. A lot of the people are just trying to make an honest living and said their kids and the children they know are just like our kids in the States,” she added.

Destene kept her comments brief about the visit, noting how she was “learning and unpacking so much” about the company.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time Shein has been under fire for tomfoolery. Last year, the company was put on blast after they used a cartoon image of a monkey holding a bushel of bananas to represent the color Black on their shopping menu. Black consumers went in on the company for being “racist,” and the icon was quickly removed.

The company has also been accused of stealing designs from Black-owned brands. Read more on that story below.


RELATED CONTENT: Black Crochet Brand Elexiay Accuses Shein Of Stealing Their Design

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN