I used to love Ellen. She’s one of those celebrities that make you feel as if she could be your best friend. Even her Netflix comedy special was titled Relatable and well, she is. That’s why she’s so popular and so influential. People trust her and I guess that’s why I’m so disappointed with her latest project.
We all know fast fashion is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Clothes made by these big companies are being pumped out at a ridiculous rate. They’re making so much of it that last year H&M burned roughly 4.3 BILLION dollars worth of inventory they claimed to be “unsellable”. Doesn’t that blow your mind? The sad thing is not only did they pollute the air by incinerating this stuff, but they sacrificed human labor, used a boat load of raw materials and even polluted valuable water sources just by making it. Then they go and burn it.
It’s bad enough we have these power houses of fast fashion making tons of useless clothing that end up getting burned, but when a celebrity gets behind a label and collaborates with these guys, the impact has to be exponential. Consumers flock to their favorite stars and many will follow and buy anything they recommend. Just think of the added pollution being created ’cause some celeb’s name is on a pair of jeans or a sweatshirt. The last thing celebrities need is help from a major retailer who’s already pushing their irresponsibly made stuff at us. It’s a double whammy and it’s exactly what Ellen did last fall.
She collaborated with Walmart… ugh… yeah Walmart, one of the biggest retailers in the world, to make a collection called EV1. She calls it an “affordable” line of clothing the mega retailer has mass produced with her name behind it. It isn’t Ellen’s only go at fashion. She has another collection called ED by Ellen Degeneres that’s still pretty inexpensive but costs more than what she’s pumping into Walmart. From the site it’s hard to know where it’s made, which makes ME think it isn’t made more responsibly than her Walmart line.
She’s so famous… couldn’t she just promote her charities and drop her EV1 collection that includes T-shirts retailing for $12 alongside denim and corduroys that sell for about $24? She’s proud it’s so “affordable” but when it comes from China or Guatemala and retails for less than a six pack of craft beer, I’d be surprised if the water used to dye her fabrics is disposed of properly or if the people making her clothes are treated safely and fairly. Those are the true costs of her garments and what we all need to think about when she says it’s “affordable”.
This isn’t a new thing. Lots of celebrities have teamed up with other fast fashion polluters, like Eve Mendes for New York & Company, Rihanna’s Fenty collections for Puma and Savage and Carrie Underwood’s Calia collection for Dick’s Sporting Goods. These lines aren’t priced as low as EV1, but all are “imported” hiding their origins and masking the fact they probably aren’t made under strict environmental regulations. Even if they’re priced higher than Ellen’s EV1 stuff, there’s a good bet these lines are made alongside other fast fashion brands.
Celebrities have a ton of influence on society, so when they put their name on something like a clothing line, they should take responsibility for how those clothes are made.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Khloe Kardashian is a great example of this. A couple years back she launched a line called Good American that makes it’s denim in Los Angeles and supports programs that empower women and young girls. My point? If you’re a celebrity and you insist on pushing your clothing collection on us, the least you could do is make it responsibly with the smallest environmental impact possible and a decent cause behind it.
I tell people this all the time… We gotta wear clothes, but we don’t need to wear clothes made by fast fashion giants that have no regard for the people making them or for our planet. By putting a celebrity like Ellen behind a cheap clothing line made irresponsibly in China or Guatemala, we’re only increasing the environmental impact. We don’t need help selling more fast fashion to the masses. If anything, we need to do the opposite and slow the clothing industry down.
We need celebrities like Ellen to use her celebrity to keep up her amazing work like saving the elephants, rhinos and gorillas thru the Ellen Fund and donating to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Fund, but she doesn’t need a clothing line to do that. Ellen has an entire page on her ED site dedicated to products from her collection that contribute to these organizations and she really doesn’t need to sell a t-shirt just to get her fans to support such a worthwhile cause.
Did she collaborate with Walmart because she was motivated by style? I find it hard to believe Ellen couldn’t find a decent pair of pants to wear so she just had to go out and design something. So why would she do it? There’s no money to be made in the garment business, so she can’t be doing it for that. Why would she even go there? Why Ellen? Why did you find the need to create more pollution and impact a community’s drinking water just to get your label on a piece of clothing? I mean if you’re dying to have a clothing line, why not get behind a responsibly made collection that’s struggling to do things right and responsibly?
There’s a line in Ellen’s stand-up where she says, “I used to close my show by saying ‘Be kind to one another’.” She goes on to say, “I could never do anything unkind, ever…” Hmm….. really Ellen?
I used to be a fan but after finding you’re behind fast fashion sold at Walmart, I’m beginning to think you could not only be unkind to people but unkind to our planet. You have found a way to separate your soul from your business and this doesn’t fit our image of you.
I loved your courage when you came out and hope you can find the same courage to stand up to your partners at Walmart and force them to produce your clothing responsibly. Better yet, maybe not produce it at all. ‘Cause the world doesn’t need another celebrity clothing line that’s costing our planet safe drinking water and clean communities. Keep up your valuable work on saving the orphaned elephants, rhinos and gorillas and if you’re feeling the pull of fashion, get behind garment lines like ME: MAJAMAS EARTH and others who are trying to change this dirty industry.
You’ll have a longer, healthier impact and your image as a kind, caring person we all want to hang out with will be restored.
– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer
TO HEAR FROM YOU
What other brands should clean up their acts?
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