The Paradox of Kourtney Kardashian Promoting Sustainability

Boohoo has named its first ever sustainability ambassador, and she or he’s not an activist, guide or perhaps a slow-fashion designer. A lot to the ire of sustainability and style pundits, she’s a Kardashian.

Over the subsequent six months, Kourtney Kardashian Barker will work with the ultra-fast-fashion big to launch two capsule collections. The primary is about to launch Tuesday with a New York Trend Week present that includes garments created from recycled fibres, upcycled classic items and jackets with removable items for a number of styling choices.

Boohoo has promoted the collaboration as a solution to lend blockbuster superstar energy and attain to conversations about sustainability (to not point out an enormous advertising and marketing push at a time when competitor Shein is snapping up market share).

Kardashian Barker has mentioned she solely agreed to the ambassador position on the premise she might use it to deal with the business’s impression. She is going to launch a short-form docuseries exploring the subject alongside her collections with Boohoo.

However critics query whether or not the tie-up is admittedly promoting sustainability, or simply promoting extra stuff.

There’s no denying that with practically 200 million Instagram followers, Kardashian Barker has a platform that far surpasses even probably the most well-known sustainability advocates.

It’s a captive viewers of followers who could not essentially know — or care — a lot about sustainable style. Non-profits, like anti-slavery organisation Hope For Justice, which characteristic in Kardashian Barker’s upcoming sequence, will acquire unprecedented publicity. Her personal self-confessed ignorance can also assist make the subject extra accessible for newcomers.

“I believe probably the most thrilling bit is that she is admittedly open about not figuring out all of the solutions,” mentioned Rosie Howells, Boohoo’s head of sustainability. “She’s going to have the ability to share with lots of of tens of millions of followers the truth that there aren’t any foolish questions on this house, everyone’s discovering it complicated, and what we’re attempting to do is increase consciousness to the problems of the style business.”

However critics are nonetheless not satisfied. Boohoo’s low-cost enterprise mannequin is extensively related to unfair labour practices. In 2020, the corporate was embroiled in a public scandal over the therapy of staff in its suppliers’ factories within the UK metropolis of Leicester (the corporate’s present sustainability efforts are partially a response to this). It’s additionally presently underneath investigation for greenwashing by the UK’s promoting watchdog. Boohoo mentioned it was working carefully to assist the authority in its investigation.

In the meantime, sustainably branded capsule collections are a well-worn greenwashing tactic for giant style manufacturers extra concerned about making a advertising and marketing splash than driving actual change, critics say. Different manufacturers which have tapped high-profile figures for sustainability roles have engaged celebrities with current observe data speaking in regards to the matter.

As an example, earlier this 12 months, Wolford named mannequin and influencer Doina Ciobanu model sustainability advisor, whereas Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen introduced in supermodel Gisele Bündchen to advise on environmental and neighborhood initiatives. Each are passionate environmental advocates, and their appointments have been tied to sustainability studies and techniques, not product launches.

“Simply being concerned about [sustainability] isn’t sufficient,” mentioned Jesse Gre Rubinstein, founding father of LA-based digital advertising and marketing company Whats up There Collective, which works predominantly with influencers and sustainability-focused manufacturers. The tie-up would have been extra compelling if there was extra proof of Kardashian Barker utilizing her platform to advocate or interact her viewers in environmental points within the run-up to its launch, she added.

It additionally doesn’t assist that the Kar-Jenner model has turn into synonymous with a tradition of extra, abundance and overconsumption, reflecting and fuelling breakneck development cycles which have helped mainstream a tradition of throwaway style. Current controversy surrounding the household consists of frequent use of personal jets and, in line with a report by The Los Angeles Instances, exceeding California drought restrictions.

And whereas there’s nonetheless time for Kardashian Barker to place her social media presence to good use, it’s presently fairly quiet on the Boohoo and sustainability entrance. As a substitute, the excitement is round her thriller model Lemme, which in line with trademark filings reported by The US Solar might be promoting something from style and equipment to sporting items when it launches.

For Boohoo’s new sustainability ambassador, the influencer advertising and marketing and promoting machine trundles on, seemingly unchanged.

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