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MANCHESTER – UK-based online fast fashion retailer, Boohoo, has been mocked on social media after appointing Kourtney Kardashian as a ‘sustainability ambassador’. It was this week announced the US reality star will team up with the brand for a partnership focused on “sustainable, conscious practices” which will see the launch of two 46 limited edition piece collections. Critics have pointed out the Kardashian’s family reputation for excess while others have claimed Boohoo is using the celebrity association to ‘greenwash’ its reputation, following public criticism of its business practices.

The reality star, 43, said in a statement on Tuesday: “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.

“It’s been an enlightening experience speaking directly with industry experts.

“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.” 

The first of two collections will include 46 limited-edition pieces using recycled fibers, traceable cotton, recycled sequins and recycled polyester, which will debut at New York Fashion Week on September 13.

Boohoo’s share price is down 83.6 per cent in the past 12-months. Like many brands, the business has struggled with supply issues after performing relatively well near the start of the global pandemic. Many analysts believe the business is simply unable to compete with Chinese ultra-fast fashion brands Shein, which is (somehow!) undercutting Boohoo on price which continues to grow rapidly.

To this end, this new partnership could be viewed as a last throw of the dice by Boohoo. Investment in a Kardashian which will not have come cheap yet the company’s ability to ‘read the room’ on sustainability issues will now come under further scrutiny.

After allegations of serious labour rights violations in its supply chains at the start of the pandemic, Boohoo went on a sustainability drive, launching so-called sustainable collections and announcing supply chain reforms. It is hard to see how this appointment as anything other than a backward step, as well as being a massive faux pas which will place it under further negative scrutiny.

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