Why Kourtney’s “sustainable” Boohoo range can never be sustainable

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  • “A private-jetting Kardashian worth $65m working with a fossil fuel fashion brand… we KANNOT.”

    Yesterday, Kourtney Kardashian announced that she’s joining fast fashion brand Boohoo as their “sustainability ambassador.”

    Explaining the move, the US reality star explained that while she “doesn’t have all the answers,” she believes any progress towards sustainability is “a step in the right direction.”

    But the news has understandably been mocked on social media as many rush to point out that fast fashion, by definition, can never be sustainable.

    Many have accused the star and the brand of greenwashing, with activist Venetia La Manna sharing: “A private-jetting Kardashian worth $65 million is now “sustainability ambassador” for fossil fuel fashion brand boohoo, where she’ll chat “with sustainability experts to better understand challenges and opportunities in the fashion industry.” We absolutely KANNOT.”

    Another added: “BOOHOO MAKING MORE S*** IS NOT SUSTAINABLE IN ANY WAY … Using a Kardashian is the perfect overconsumption tactic … Greenwashing us with a popular celebrity so no one has to do any critical thinking because she’s clearly done it all for us,’ pointed out another.”

    As a Sustainability Editor, let me explain. By its very definition, fast fashion is not sustainable. It’s the world’s second biggest polluter – more than shipping and aviation combined – and accounts for ten per cent of the globe’s carbon footprint.

    It encourages a use-once, throwaway attitude towards clothes, and brands like Shein, Boohoo, and Pretty Little Thing epitomise this, creating trend-based garments with cheap fabrics that aren’t designed to last (all while drastically underpaying staffers).

    Saying that you are selling “sustainable” clothes because they contain some recyled materials – when the rest of your business model promotes overconsumption and waste – is greenwashing. 

    You’re likely to confuse innocent consumers, who may go on to shop with Boohoo genuinely believing that they are acting sustainably and helping the planet.

    Plus, appointing a celebrity – who has little to no understanding of what a sustainable brand truly is – rather than a qualified or educated sustainability expert shouts PR move rather than a genuine interest in shifting towards more sustainable practice.

    As one Twitter user explained, they focused on “someone promoting over consumption and capitalism” – an “insult” to those who genuinely care about improving the fashion sphere and promoting a circular economy.

    She went on to say: “This is insulting to an entire community working tirelessly to educate / change / provide alternative solutions / invest in climate positive solutions – to hire someone promoting over consumption and capitalism is beyond absurd! Not that Boohoo cares..”

    Boohoo is, categorically speaking, one of the worst offenders when it comes to putting profit over people and planet. In 2020, their UK factories were found to be paying their workers as little as £3.50 an hour to work in unsafe, non Covid-secure conditions. And that’s before we get to the fact it topped the list as one of the least sustainable fashion brands back in the 2019 UK Parliament Environmental Audit Committee.

    This also comes mere weeks after the Kardashians were slammed for using private jets to make fifteen-minute trips that equated to the same amount of aviation emissions the average person uses in three months.

    The promo clip which was shared on YouTube shares that Kourtney’s collection will include 46 items of clothing, some of which are made using recycled fibers, traceable cotton, recycled sequins, and recycled polyester.

    In the video, she shares: “Reusing, repurposing, like I don’t have all the answers but just like opening up to have these conversations and get it started is really important.”

    “I am so excited to share everything that I’ve been learning on this journey with the world and just trying to like broaden the conversation and hopefully make a difference.”

    “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,” she concluded.

    Love Island ditching a fast fashion sponsor this year felt like a step in the right direction but this sadly feels like a step backward.

    Enough is enough – more needs to be done to stop celebrities and brands from acting in their own interests and for profit when the earth is at an absolutely critical point. If you genuinely want to make a difference, our expert-led guide to sustainable living will help – but one of the toplines is assessing your relationship with fast fashion brands. Will you give it a go?

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