Celebrity brand endorsements are a phenomenon that has existed for the longest time, and it’s become even more prevalent with the advent of social media. But now celebrities are not only endorsing brands but also collaborating with them by releasing collections and joining them in the creative process of making the collection.
Recently, a post on Megan Fox’s Instagram shocked some fans. She came out with her second collection in collaboration with fast-fashion retailer Boohoo, a UK-based brand, that has been in the news for its unethical practices such as poor working conditions and violation of workers’ rights. The company’s model states that they put over 500 products on their website weekly. The post was met with a lot of mixed responses. Some fans commented, “I’m so disappointed in this collection”, and “Fast fashion is garbage, I’m disappointed in you.” while others praised it.
The problem with fast fashion isn’t just overproduction and consumption, though. It has a lot of devastating environmental impacts. The first way is excessive water usage. Water that has harmful substances like lead, arsenic and mercury is dumped into rivers which makes the water extremely toxic for aquatic and human life. The brands that produce these clothes manufacture more than they can sell, and because of this, a lot of clothes end up in landfills. The fast fashion industry also accounts for 8% of greenhouse gas emissions that have led to climate change. But besides its ecological impact, fast fashion is known to be one of the industries that has major ethical issues. Most of the employees that manufacture these garments come from low-income countries. To keep their costs low, they exploit these workers by paying them very low wages. Not only that, but they work very long hours and are in unsafe conditions. Many fast fashion brands also use child labour in their textile growing farms and factories.
Celebrities such as Cardi B have also collaborated with fast fashion brands in the past. She worked with Fashion Nova in 2018. The collection sold out immediately thanks to its affordable prices and virality. Cardi B reportedly made $ 1 million in a day because of this collection. The store, which was launched online in 2013, is an ultra fast-fashion brand, with 1000 new arrivals every week. Good On You, a website that puts together information regarding fast-fashion brands and rates them based on how ethical they are, rates Fashion Nova with their lowest possible rating, “It does not provide sufficient information, which is why it rates so low on environmental impact, labour conditions, and animal welfare.”
SHEIN, the Chinese online retailer that grew in popularity right before the pandemic roped in big celebrities for their ‘SHEIN X 100K Challenge’. Good American founder Khloé Kardashian, famous stylist Law Roach, and American designer Christian Siriano were just a few of the celebrities that took part in this. “Shein is one of the most unethical fast fashion brands,” One fan commented on Khloé Kardashian’s post that announced her partnership with the brand. Ever since SHEIN grew popular, reports about the unethical side of the brand, as well as its environmental effects have been talked about. SHEIN lacks transparency when it comes to its supply chain and is known for stealing designs from smaller designers.
Cara Delevingne, the English model who has publicly talked about saving the planet and healing earth’s ecosystems, defied herself by collaborating with Nasty Gal. Nasty Gal is owned by the Boohoo Group which was accused of modern slavery. It was discovered that the company was paying its employees an hourly wage of £3.50 at a factory in Leicester, which is lower than the minimum wage.
Problems with the fast fashion industry are very much in the public light, environmental activists and organisations have slammed these brands and are working tirelessly to make fashion more sustainable. It is very well established that fast fashion is bad, but despite the wide-known knowledge about all of this, the industry is still very popular. Sadly, celebrity collaborations with fast fashion brands are a concept we have been seeing a lot. These partnerships promote all of the horrible consequences that fast fashion offers. Celebrities have a certain hold over people. Very young and impressionable audiences look up to them. So, instead of promoting these brands, promoting sustainable practices such as thrifting and buying second-hand goods would have a way better impact on the youth. Bella Hadid, Rihanna and Zendaya have promoted the sustainable fashion movement by wearing vintage pieces and shopping from sustainable brands before. Angelina Jolie and Emma Watson are known for their environmental activism and drive for sustainability in fashion. Katrina Kaif has also spoken about using organic and sustainable fashion products. Celebrities should realise the impact that they have and use their platform for a good cause
Hero Image: Courtesy stock.adobe.com. Featured Image: Courtesy boohoo.com.