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Kourtney Kardashian x Boohoo Was a Glitzy, Trendy Runway Wrapped in Climate Dilemma

The collection is a hot topic for two reasons: eye-catching looks you can't forget and the multi-pronged issue of fast fashion.
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I'm about to tell you some things I don't want to admit.

Parties on a Tuesday are always special. In knee-high leather boots, Prada crystal bags, bright satins and dazzling shoes, a fashionable crowd gathered at New York City's High Line in anticipation of Kourtney Kardashian Barker's new collaboration with online fashion retailer Boohoo.

The party began shortly after the star arrived, strutting to her front row seat in a black leather trench coat, lace bodysuit, black leather gloves and opaque shades reflecting a thousand flashes from eager phones and cameras shooting for the perfect picture. To her side was husband Travis Barker, matching her look with shades and his own all-black outfit.

The Boohoo by Kourtney Kardashian Barker Fall 2022 show was a party. It was also very controversial.

There was a false start. Two brave models walked the entire runway as the music stopped and lights cut off. The crowd cheered the models on as they braved the dark in stilettos. When the show actually began — with lights, music and all — attendees were even more excited. Usually, the audience at fashion shows will sit silently, but as rock hits from the likes of Blondie and The Killers played, attendees cheered models on and gasped at now-shoppable looks.

A high-shine faux alligator trench coat in bubblegum pink. Patent red high-rise pants. Sexy maxi dresses with a slit for the leg and chain detail at the lower back. An oversized pinstripe blazer. Cutout dresses and crop tops. Sparkling skirts and lace bodysuits. Loungewear sets and puffy silver coats. Sunglasses that are near perfect dupes for Balenciaga's $630 pairs. The looks cater to many aesthetics...

Want to try out the vest trend? Barbiecore? Or punk or menswear-inspired? Want to stick to comfy loungewear? It's all there in the Boohoo by Kourtney Kardashian Barker collection.

And therein lies the issue.

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The clothes are undeniably stylish and immediate wants. Leather bustiers layered over a white shirt and berets — they lure you in, daring you to shop against your own eco-morals. I'd be lying if I said many items didn't catch my eye. But then, looking at the prices, many of them under $25, something feels off. Just because the pieces look good, doesn't mean they're made well.

Boohoo is a fast-fashion retailer. I discovered it when I was in high school and scouring the internet for cute clothes in my budget. Offering student discounts and usually advertising a huge sale on a homepage banner, the site has trendy garments for affordable prices. But this comes at the cost of sustainability practices that protect the environment and, egregiously, workers' rights.

A British newspaper's 2020 investigation caught Boohoo Group — which owns Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, Nasty Gal and more — paying wages far below minimum wage and not offering proper coronavirus protections. A year later, the company was found to have failed again at significantly improving worker conditions in its factories in Leicester. Celebrities collaborating with fast-fashion brands (Boohoo included) have repeatedly been called out for promoting unethical consumption, child labor and greenwashing.

Kardashian anticipated bad press, it seems. 

"I went back and forth about doing this collection... because the first thing I think about when I hear the words 'fast fashion' is that it's bad for our planet," she wrote in the caption of an Instagram post. "I thought about the attention this collaboration would bring to people who may otherwise have no idea about the impacts of fast fashion on our planet. I thought about how pushing boohoo to make some initial changes and then holding them accountable to larger change would be impactful. It's definitely making some noise which is exactly what I was hoping for."

Boohoo by Kourtney Kardashian Barker has 45 pieces with prices ranging from as low at $6 to $100. In an attempt at being environmentally... considerate, let's say, most pieces are made with recycled materials like cotton, which is one of the most common fibers in fashion, as well as one of the most pesticide-sprayed and water intensive. The debut of this collaboration is part of Boohoo's UPFRONT commitments, which is the brand's approach to sustainability, with focuses on materials, textile waste and extending product lifetimes — though it does not address workers.

"Sustainability" may be the hottest trend of all: The industry is responsible for a whopping, nearly 9% chunk of global greenhouse emissions and the word is being thrown around everywhere, often without any clarity on what it really means. Though some brands have made a practice of adhering to firm, specific commitments; we often find a lack of numbers or measurable goals proving anything at all is sustainable. In that way, this collection doesn't measurably improve upon what's already going on in the mass apparel industry — it's simply a continuation of what's already happening. 

Kardashian said she's taking this opportunity to talk to experts and create discussion. The jury is still out on what meaningful impact this partnership will have, if any.

See the full Boohoo by Kourtney Kardashian Barker Fall 2022 Runway Show in the gallery below.

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