Kim Kardashian's SKIMS Deemed Worse for the Planet Than SHEIN by Fashion Transparency Report

SKIMS may be just another fast fashion brand in disguise.

Bianca Piazza - Author

Mar. 15 2024, Published 10:32 a.m. ET

Kim Kardashian poses in a pink outfit in front of a pink SKIMS-branded wall, at the SKIMS Valentine's Shop Pop-Up at Westfield Century City on Feb. 8, 2023 in Los Angeles.
Source: Getty Images

Kim Kardashian attends the SKIMS Valentine's Shop Pop-Up at Westfield Century City on Feb. 8, 2023 in Los Angeles.

Even if you're not well-versed on the Kardashian iceberg, you surely know Kardashian- and Jenner-founded companies. From Kylie Cosmetics to Poosh, America's royal family members have their names all over the cosmetics, wellness, and fashion landscape. Kim Kardashian released her now-beloved shapewear line, SKIMS, back in 2019. And just four years later, in 2023, SKIMS was valued at a whopping $4 billion, as per InStyle. Something smells like fast fashion...

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According to a report published in March 2024, SKIMS ranked in last place out of 52 of the biggest fashion companies, tarnishing any sustainable and ethical facade the brand may hope to exude.

We've done more than skim the report, so let's talk findings.

Kim Kardashian posing with a baby blue SKIMS display at the SKIMS pop-up at Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Center in 2023
Source: Getty Images
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A fashion accountability report finds that SKIMS is potentially worse for the planet than Shein.

In clothing industry 501(c)3 nonprofit Remake's "Fashion Accountability Report," published on March 6, 2024, SKIMS was awarded a giant goose egg of a score: Zero out of maximum 150 points.

SKIMS' last place ranking was tied with notorious fast fashion companies Temu, Fashion Nova, and Missguided. Fast fashion poster child Shein scored six points, while Everlane came out on top with a score of 40.

Remake came up with the scores based on five categories: traceability, wages and well-being, commercial practices, raw materials, environmental justice, and governance.

As stated in the report, SKIMS has not disclosed its carbon emissions, and is one of 15 companies that "have not committed to set any science-based emissions reduction targets."

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Plus, SKIMS isn't transparent about its use of toxic chemicals. It's imperative for fashion companies to align themselves with the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) program's Manufacturer Restricted Substance List (MRSL). SKIMS has not, nor has it released any hazardous chemicals or wastewater data.

The report also noted that when it comes to transparency around ethics in the supply chain, SKIMS' language is vague, with the shapewear brand having stated: "We are committed to the highest ethical standards and legal compliance in all aspects of our business and product supply chain. We only work with suppliers and vendors who believe in and share our commitment to sustainability, accountability, and transparency."

However, SKIMS provides no evidence of these standards in practice.

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Is SKIMS considered fast fashion? The lack of transparency is palpable.

Though SKIMS may not be as commonly referred to as such, yes, SKIMS is fast fashion.

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The Earth Day website cheekily called SKIMS "a fast fashion wolf in shapewear's clothing," as the brand primarily utilizes stretchy nylon, virgin polyester, and spandex, which are petroleum-based fibers. The fast fashion industry is not only known for overwhelming landfills with cheap, pilling crap, but for the release of dangerous microplastics.

Washing synthetic fabrics sheds numerous plastic fibers into wastewater, and subsequently waterways like rivers and oceans, per the Plastic Pollution Coalition.

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According to Remake's 2024 report, transparency regarding factory conditions, auditing, wage data, and raw materials suppliers was nowhere to be found at SKIMS.

The report did note, however, that workers at Bogart Lingerie (Yangon) Ltd. Myanmar — which has allegedly produced clothing for SKIMS — were "being forced to work overtime without pay," as per December 2021 allegations. SKIMS's current connection to this factory is unknown.

SKIMS' website says it “removed all plastic and non-recyclable materials” from packaging, as noted by the official Earth Day website. However, the "I am not plastic" supposedly-compostable bags feature a tiny No. 4, quietly announcing they're made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE), aka plastic.

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Remake's SKIMS spreadsheet is dotted with phrases like "no such commitments made" and "no evidence of such," showing how empty the brand's strategically worded claims and campaigns are. While the extensive nude color range and size diversity of SKIMS are certainly things to applaud, SKIMS is really just another fast fashion behemoth.

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SKIMS has also been called out for greenwashing and making light of the climate crisis.

An ad campaign in 2023 promoting the SKIMS "nipple push-up bra" (yes, really) gave consumers an odd sense of hope that the brand cared about the environment.

“The sea levels are rising, the ice sheets are shrinking," Kim Kardashian said in a promotional video, introducing the bra. "That’s why I’m introducing a brand-new bra with a built-in nipple. So no matter how hot it is, you’ll always look cold.”

The ad's caption announced that SKIMS was investing in "advancing carbon removal," and would be donating 10 percent of sales from the Ultimate Nipple Bra to 1% for the Planet. These efforts are a start, but far from enough. Forbes writer Kate Hardcastle suggested that with the nipple bra ad, SKIMS was "simply 'buying' environmental consciousness."

Considering all of the above findings about SKIMS' lack of transparency and sustainable fashion practices, sadly, it's clear that the brand is guilty of greenwashing and producing fast fashion.

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