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Kourtney Kardashian’s BooHoo Collection: Sustainable or Obvious Greenwashing?

 by Emily McIntyre

Kourtney Kardashian has recently created a clothing collection alongside being announced as a ‘sustainability ambassador’ in collaboration with BooHoo, a fast fashion company notorious for the rate at which they produce new garments and underpay their workers. These are both issues which the brand steers clear of addressing. Alongside Misguided, BooHoo, in 2019, was also named one of the least sustainable fashion brands in the UK, in a report published by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC).

Photograph: Daniella Midenge/BooHoo

The first of Kardashian’s two collections will include 45 pieces, with most made from recycled materials including polyester and cotton, dropping September 13th. As well as this, it is said to be featuring two vintage biker jackets and pre-loved band tees, including a nod to husband, Travis Barker, through a Blink 182 - pushing BooHoo into the vintage market for the first time. Per a press release, it’s said Kourtney will be “delivering two capsule collections that have been created in tandem with a journey of investigation into opportunities for creating a more sustainable fashion future.’’

Photograph: Daniella Midenge/BooHoo

The new collection comes alongside a 4-part social series of documentary-style videos, presenting Kourtney to be extremely hands-on in the behind-the-scenes process as she investigates what it means to be sustainable whilst talking to experts all over the world about the matter. BooHoo have teased the series with one full video released on their Instagram so far, where they say that their aim is to ‘’inspire positive change towards a more sustainable future of fashion.’’

On the whole, the entire 6:09 minutes of the first video, titled ‘The Journey: Episode 1’ comes across as very staged, edited to give a false sense of stripped-back conscientiousness, whilst Kourtney explains how important it is to have conversations about ‘’like worker welfare and textile waste.’’ Adding very little to the actual conversation herself, it’s all very tone deaf and performative to see this 43-year-old multi-millionaire, who used to own/co-own two clothing boutiques herself, only just come to the realisation that we need to make ethical choices in the production and distribution of fashion.

Photograph: Daniella Midenge/BooHoo

In an official statement, Kourtney states: 

"When boohoo first approached me with this idea that was all about sustainability and style, I was concerned about the effects of the fast fashion industry on our planet. BooHoo responded with excitement and a desire to incorporate more sustainable practices into our line."
...
‘’It's been an enlightening experience speaking directly with industry experts. I'm grateful for the opportunity to use my platform to drive conversations that lead to ongoing change and use my voice to share actionable tips with consumers on how we can play our own part. There's still lots of work to be done and improvements to be made, but I truly believe that any progress we can make when it comes to sustainability is a step in the right direction and will open up the conversation for future advancements."

Using a woman from one of the wealthiest families in Hollywood, whose Instagram boasts nothing but expensive clothes and more than a healthy number of regular holidays, to team up with BooHoo's questionable reputation in the ethics of fashion, it’s no surprise that the announcement of this drop has already received a huge amount of backlash from social media users. 

The comment section on BooHoo's first video and announcement of their collaboration with Kourtney Kardashian, is flooded with angry comments calling them out for greenwashing:

‘’Boohoo workers were paid 29p an hour in Pakistan.’’

‘’Would absolutely love to see you use the money you spend on these misleading marketing campaigns to actually pay the people who make your clothes.’’

‘’Like, exploitation vibes.’’

‘’The two words you don’t (see) together in a sentence is Kardashian and sustainability.’’ 

Photograph: Daniella Midenge/BooHoo

Whilst hearing that brands and companies are making more conscious choices in order to be more ethically and environmentally conscious is always a step in the right direction, and a step that more companies should be actively taking, when BooHoo are known for their overconsumption and previous failed ecological attempts it begs the question – Can fast fashion ever be sustainable? Are these small gestures just a ploy to cover the cruelty within the big picture?

With its throw-away culture and eagerness to produce clothes that match current trends, the longevity of BooHoos clothes and their new Kardashian collection comes into consideration, and will they just be contributing to landfill waste in years to come? 

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