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Is Khloé’s latest gig a fashion faux pas?
On Wednesday, Khloé Kardashian announced her partnership with Shein, the Chinese retailer whose affordable clothes are beloved by Gen-Z and ubiquitous on TikTok.
The Good American co-founder will serve as a judge for the brand’s Shein X 100K Challenge, a new design competition, alongside celebrity stylist Law Roach, designer Christian Siriano, former J.Crew exec Jenna Lyons and InStyle style director Laurel Pantin.
Emerging designers will get a chance to win a prize of $100,000, along with a chance to be featured in Shein’s Fall/Winter 2021 virtual fashion showcase.
But like many fast fashion retailers, Shein — which adds nearly 1,000 new items to its inventory daily, with most costing less than $10 — has been accused of copying the work of smaller designers and artists.
And fans made their feelings known in the comments of Kardashian’s post. “Is this a joke???? After shein knocks off small designers,” one person wrote, receiving nearly 2,000 likes.
“Shein is one of the most unethical fast fashion brands,” another said. “They steal designs Khloe. Please don’t promote them,” a third chimed in.
Yet another person pointed out the impact of low-priced, trendy styles on our planet, writing, “Fast fashion is bad for the environment — not cute.”
“Shein takes these issues very seriously and respects the intellectual property rights of artists and designers. We have policies and procedures in place to monitor and swiftly rectify any issues,” a representative for the company told Page Six Style.
“Shein X, is an incubator program that was developed to specifically support small independent talents and give them opportunity to grow their revenue streams, gain exposure, and tap a massive Gen Z audience across the globe. The judges who participated in the Shein X 100k Challenge support emerging, small and independent designers and we are all excited to see their designs and creativity come to life on the show.”
Fellow judges Siriano, Roach and Lyons also faced criticism from their followers after posting about their involvement in the project. The “Project Runway” designer simply announced he’d be deleting the negative comments, while Roach wrote, “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.”
“Happy for you for the partnership, but it had to Shein?!?!?! They’re ripping off so many indie designers, not to talk about the impact on nature and who knows the conditions of the workers….,” one fan of Zendaya’s stylist commented.
Lyons, meanwhile, pointed to the core mission behind the design competition. “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 wrote.
The trendsetter resorted to turning off comments, and asked her followers to “take a look at [the program] and see what you think before jumping to conclusions,” adding that “everyone deserves a second chance.”
Kardashian’s sister Kim has previously clashed with fast fashion brands, calling them out for knocking off clothes she wears within days. She even won nearly $3 million from Missguided after filing a lawsuit accusing the company of using her name and likeness to sell lower-priced copies of various outfits she’s worn.
Khloé is far from the first celebrity to pair up with Shein. In 2020, Katy Perry, Lil Nas X, Rita Ora and Doja Cat performed for the brand’s virtual fashion show, which featured special guests Hailey Baldwin, Storm Reid, Tyler Cameron and more.
And earlier this year, Nick Jonas, Steve Aoki, Maren Morris and more performed for another virtual concert for the company. Both events benefitted charity.
Reps for Kardashian didn’t immediately respond to Page Six Style’s request for comment.
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