Khloe Kardashian faces bitter backlash for partnering with ‘unethical’ fast-fashion brand Shein – as critics accuse Chinese retailer of ‘stealing designs’ and contributing to mass pollution
Khloe Kardashian is facing fierce backlash for teaming up with the fast-fashion brand Shein, as critics point out that the Chinese retailer has been accused of piracy and mass pollution.
The 37-year-old, who founded the Good American clothing brand, announced her collaboration with Shein on Instagram Wednesday, saying she will be a guest judge on the brand’s upcoming Shein X 100K Challenge series.
Posting a glamorous photo of herself, Kardashian wrote: ‘I am so excited to have teamed up with @sheinofficial to judge the #SHEINx100Kchallenge. The SHEIN X Designer Incubator Program gives talented fashion designers the ability to design a collection for SHEIN that will be seen by fashionistas all around the world!’
Under fire: Khloe Kardashian, 37, is facing backlash for teaming up with the Chinese fast-fashion brand Shein
Promotion: The reality star announced her partnership with Shein on Instagram Wednesday, saying she’ll be a judge on the brand’s upcoming Shein X 100K Challenge series
‘In order to fully support the SHEIN X designers, SHEIN produces, markets, and promotes the collections!’ she added, urging fans to tune into the four-part series when it premieres on the Shein app on Sunday.
Kardashian also offered her 175 million followers a discount code to get 20 percent off Shein’s entire site while promoting the partnership.
The brand launched the competition in April as part of its Shein X incubator program, The Business of Fashion reported.
The series will follow 30 budding designers as they compete to win $100,000 and a chance to have their designs sold on the company’s website. The winner’s looks will also be featured in Shein’s upcoming Fall/Winter 2021 virtual fashion show.
Kardashian is one of five celebrity judges, which include designer Christian Siriano, stylist Law Roach, and former J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons.
Fashion crew: Kardashian is one of five celebrity judges, which include designer Christian Siriano, stylist Law Roach, and former J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons
How could you? Critics lambasted her for promoting a company that has long been accused of copying other designers and destroying the environment
While the reality star is only serving as a judge on the show, critics lambasted her for promoting a company that has long been accused of copying other designers in its rush to release new products.
‘Shein is one of the most unethical fast fashion brands,’ one person commented, while another asked: ‘Is this a joke???? After Shein knocks off small designers.’
‘Lmaoooo Shein supporting designers?!’ someone else wrote. ‘All they do is rip off small independent designs to make fast fashion.’
Shein — which ships to 220 countries — has had a pandemic-busting year that in June led to it toppling Amazon as the most downloaded shopping app on iOS and Android in the U.S.
The Chinese brand targets social media-savvy Gen Zers with its never-ending rollout of trendy pieces sold for incredibly low prices. A halter top sells for as little as $6 on the site, while a summer dress goes for $15.
Fast fashion: The Chinese brand targets social media-savvy Gen Zers with its never-ending rollout of trendy pieces sold for incredibly low prices
Proof? Elexiay recently accused Shein of copying its sweater. The brand shared a photo of its $330 design (L) next to Shein’s remarkably similar version (R), which was being sold for $17
The retailer has long been accused of copying other designers, but many of those who claim to be victims of piracy are small, independent labels without the resources to challenge an international giant.
Last month, Nigerian brand Elexiay called out Shein on Instagram for copying its pink and green hand-crocheted sweater. The company shared a photo of its $330 design next to Shein’s remarkably similar version, which was being sold for just $17.
The sweater appears to have been taken down from Shein’s site.
Another gripe with Kardashian’s critics is that Shein is contributing to mass pollution. Roughly 350,000 tons of clothing are dumped in landfills each year, and some claim fashion is the world’s second-biggest polluting industry after fossil fuels.
Many Shein items are made of polyester, a synthetic fabric usually derived from petroleum. When washed, they produce microfiber, which contributes to the huge volumes of plastic pollution in the seas.
‘Fashion fashion is bad for the environment — not cute,’ one person commented on Kardashian’s post about her Shein collaboration.
There were also unfounded criticisms about Shein’s labor practices, which have been subject to speculation.
Fashion business: Kardashian founded her Good American clothing brand in 2016 and has seen great success
Moving on: Kardashian has yet to respond to the criticism, and, instead, she posted a throwback photo of herself at the University of Arizona with her old sisters Kim and Kourtney
While there isn’t any evidence that the brand employs children or facilitates unsafe working conditions, some have found it suspect that the company hasn’t disclosed its workers’ wages or hours.
Siriano, Roach, and Lyons have also faced criticism online after they promoted the show on their own social media pages.
While Siriano announced that his team was deleting negative comments, Roach asked his fans to give the show a chance.
‘My Tribe please just watch this when it airs and you will see why I choose to do this!!! I promise you will be proud of me,’ he wrote.
Lyons said she was also considering taking down negative comments out of respect for the young designers she met.
‘The reason I participated — if you are interested — is because the ENTIRE PROCESS was designed to support young designers, and all of the contestants were incredibly talented, passionate, and deserving of a chance at winning 100k,’ she explained.
Kardashian, who is no stranger to public backlash, has yet to respond. A few hours after she promoted Shein’s new series, she shared a throwback photo of herself at the University of Arizona with her older sisters Kim and Kourtney.