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Kourtney Kardashian names her fast fashion line amid accusations of greenwashing, gives pundits a lesson in sustainability

TV personality Kourtney Kardashian Barker has been named a sustainability ambassador for fast-fashion giant Boohoo, announcing Tuesday that she plans to collaborate with the British online retailer on a 46-piece “capsule” collection.

The new collection, priced between $6 and $100, will feature recycled polyester and recycled cotton, and will include two retro biker jackets, which will be Boohoo’s first foray into the retro market. But while Kardashian and Boohoo injected a more sustainable image into fast fashion, an industry with a huge environmental footprint, the pairing soon sparked an online backlash, with people accusing the brand of And influencers “wash green”.

$65M private jet Kardashian is now ‘sustainable’ Development Ambassador” fossil fuel fashion brand boohoo, where she will “chat with sustainability experts to better understand the challenges and opportunities in the fashion industry”. We have absolutely no idea.

— Venetia La Manna (@venetialamanna) September 6, 2022

Many accused Kourtney’s personal brand of being “excessive” and accused Boohoo of creating a marketing campaign that led to more waste.

This is an insult to the entire community who work tirelessly to educate/change/provide alternative solutions Solutions/Investing in Climate Positive Solutions – Hiring someone who promotes overconsumption and capitalism is ridiculous! Not Boohoo cares.. They don’t deserve our work

— Céline Semaan (@celinecelines) September 6, 2022

Fashion industry sustainability consultants agree. “You don’t have to be an expert to see sustainable ‘capsule collections’ go green,” Katherine Nasteva, a fashion expert at Lozena Sustainability Consulting, told Fortune. Lisa Bergstrand of Bergstrand Sustainability Consultancy believes Boohoo Sustainability practices “did not provide any measurable commitment”. “Not for Mrs. Kardashian Buck’s collection, or any of their collections. So in that regard, I would say the backlash is justified,” Bergstrand told Fortune. Bergstrand argues that the word “sustainable” no longer has any meaning in fashion words, and when the language we use to describe “good” is being tried to sell As our marketing departments colonize, it becomes harder and harder for anyone to do good things. More stuff we don’t need. She concludes: “If Mrs Kardashian Barker wants to learn more about sustainability before naming her another collection, I’d love to give her a workshop on it.” ”

The “sustainable” route

According to the fashion industry magazine WWD

reports that even Kourtney Kardashian Barker is wary of partnering with Boohoo due to the uneven fast fashion industry environmental track record. “When Boohoo first approached me to work with me, I was concerned about the impact of the fast fashion industry on our planet,” Barker said in WWD. But Boohoo told her they wanted to incorporate sustainable practices into the collection, and Kardashian Barker wanted to use her platform to drive conversations on the topic. “There is still a lot of work to be done. Do, there are still many improvements, but I truly believe that any progress we can make in sustainability is a step in the right direction and will open a conversation for future progress,” Kardashian said. Kardashian Barker, said. But sustainability experts still have concerns about the line itself. Selina Ho, founder and CEO of sustainable fashion consultancy Recloseted, said she “sees Boohoo’s Really disappointed with this collaboration” and thinks that if the brand really wants to create a sustainable capsule collection, they should partner with slow fashion content creators – i.e. talk about frugality, tinkering and buying well-crafted from sustainable retailers Ho argues that if the collection has 46 pieces, it’s not a capsule collection, “that’s a full online collection.” She points out, “In sustainable fashion, less is more ”, and said that with clothing prices as low as $6, she doubted their margins and whether they were designed on purpose and for longevity. She also argued that the mention of recycled polyester and cotton was not detailed , especially since recycled polyester requires a lot of energy to manufacture and release more microplastics when washed. “Given the budget for this project and their ability to push industry norms, I’d love to see them create a synthetic fiber-free Capsules,” Ho told Fortune.

Bad stats for fast fashion

There is no doubt that fast fashion is hugely popular among young shoppers looking for cheaper alternatives to luxury fashion designers — — and those who seem to arrive minutes after ordering. But the industry is riddled with bad statistics. CO2 emissions from fast fashion in 2019, according to the UK government’s House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee more than aviation and shipping combined, and contributed about 10% of the total global carbon emissions, a 2018 United Nations report found. More than a third of all microplastics released into the world’s oceans come from synthetic textiles, according to fashion watchdog Common Objective. According to McKinsey’s 2020 State of Fashion report, in addition to energy-intensive production, the textile industry accounts for around 10% to 20% of global pesticide use, while textile dyeing contributes around 20% of global wastewater, United Nations The UNEP report. Among the worst culprits, fast fashion brands like Fashion Nova, Boohoo, Revolve, Pretty Little Thing and Forever 21 all have a Fashion Transparency Index below 10%. Lozena’s Nasteva said: “Boohoo is an ultra-fast fashion brand – the speed and frequency on which its business model is based makes it inherently disruptive, environmental and ethical.” As of press time , Boohoo did not respond to Fortune‘s request for comment.

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