Kourtney Kardashian's 'Sustainability' Job For Boohoo Has Not Landed Well

An image from the new Kourtney Kardashian x Boohoo line. (Photo: Twitter)
An image from the new Kourtney Kardashian x Boohoo line. (Photo: Twitter)

An image from the new Kourtney Kardashian x Boohoo line. (Photo: Twitter)

In case you missed it, fast fashion behemoth Boohoo has announced Kourtney Kardashian Barker has a new gig as the brand’s “sustainability ambassador”.

This collaboration sees the reality TV star release a new line Boohoo, which will include two 46-piece limited edition collections, the first of which will be showcased during New York Fashion Week on September 13.

This comes hot on the kitten heels of news that Pretty Little Thing – the fast fashion brand that’s also owned by Boohoo – has introduced an app encouraging shoppers to buy and sell second hand clothes.

Kourtney’s first Boohoo line – set to launch in the US market – ranges in price from $6 to $100 and will include items made with recycled polyester and recycled cotton, as well as two vintage-style biker jackets.

“When Boohoo first approached me to collaborate on a line, I was concerned about the effects of the fast-fashion industry on our planet,” Kourtney, 43, told WWD in an interview about the line.

“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.”

Social media seems less than impressed by news of the collaboration, however. Echoing criticism of Pretty Little Thing’s marketplace, Boohoo’s latest announcement has been labelled by some as an act of greenwashing.

People have also queried Kardashian’s involvement, given her penchant for a private jet or two, and her family’s reputation for excess.

Boohoo’s business model is famously based on fast turnaround to meet and stoke demand, with more than 3,000 new styles added weekly to its site and some items taking just 48 hours to go on sale from idea to manufacture.

In July, the UK Competition and Markets Authority opened an investigation into whether eco-friendly claims made by various UK fast fashion chains added up – Boohoo is one of the brands under investigation, alongside Asos and Asda.

It was also hit by scandal mid-pandemic in 2020, when a series of newspaper investigations alleged that some UK workers producing clothes for Boohoo in factories in Leicester were being paid below minimum wage and working in non-Covid safe environments.

This led the company to severing ties with various UK suppliers, and some of its shareholders voting against big payouts for top Boohoo executives.

It’s hardly surprising, perhaps, that people have taken issue with this new collab on social media.

Kourtney isn’t exactly the most sustainable celebrity

Fast fashion and sustainability don’t really go together

And what about the garment makers behind the new line?

When we reached out to Boohoo, Cheryl Chung, head of communications for the brand, responded.

“We recognise that working with Kourney is a choice a lot of people will find unusual,” she told HuffPost UK. 

“Kourtney has faced a lot of criticism about her own sustainability practices. But we’re talking to a lot of sustainability experts as part of this project.” 

Chung emphasised Kourtney’s huge following on Instagram –196 million followers at last count – to explain that hiring her in an ambassadorial role could influence a larger number of people to learn more about sustainability. 

The brand is releasing her conversations with experts as a docuseries, available to view on YouTube.Those experts include Tim Nelson, the CEO of Hope For Justice, which works on freeing people from modern slavery around the world.

“We’re working with her and tackling conversations around the challenges of textile waste, the challenges of worker welfare, and how you responsibly deal with your clothes at the end of their life,” Chung said, adding that Kourtney’s conversations about massive challenges facing the fashion industry was “the most important part of the collaboration”.

Asked whether the venture was another example of greenwashing, Chung responded that in-house designers working on Kardashian’s line are concentrating on using fabrics and materials that wouldn’t harm the environment, but didn’t speak to further supply chain logistics.

“We’re not claiming to be perfect in any way but we’re categorically trying to do our best to be as honest and open and transparent,” she added.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.