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The world has had enough: New regulations have been formed to combat Greenwashing and Fast Fashion

The fashion industry mainly relies on self rather than external regulation. Brands are expected to be honest with their consumers about the production process, where, as well as how a product is made, and the ratio of materials in it but this does not always happen. In order to avoid having to lie, brands withhold information and purposefully leave consumers ignorant. However, times are changing. As activist Tariq Fancy said on the BOF voices 2022 panel “Many companies are playing dirty,” “It’s time we called in the refs” and this is exactly what is happening.

As of Jan 1, France has made it mandatory for fashion brands to give shoppers detailed information about environmental characteristics like the proportions of recycled materials in a product, as well as where the garments are made. The law also requires brands to disclose the proportion that the product is recycled, if more than 50% is synthetic then they are required to warn customers that the clothing will shed microfibers in the wash. “It’s the first time a regulation has required so much disclosure in the entire industry,” said Baptiste Carriere-Pradal, Chair of the Technical Secretariat of the Apparel EU Product Environmental Footprint project.

Not only is the European Union also working through a suite of policies intended to reshape the way fashion operates by the end of the decade with new design requirements to make products more durable and reduce their environmental footprint, but various states in the USA have also started to pass laws regarding different environmental concerns. New York and California have passed bans against toxic “forever” chemicals commonly used in waterproof outerwear and the proposed New York Fashion Act, which blends tough transparency requirements, could expose companies to penalties worth up to 2% of the global revenue if passed.

But as these new laws are just being thrown at brands they are not ready to make so many changes at once and they will give a lot of fast fashions like Shien, ASOS, Urbinac ect a run for their money as they rely on mass production and cheap fabrics that are not environmentally friendly. In fact, a lot of brands are already facing litigation for making wrongful environmental claims.

While it may seem as though all companies are acting unethically, it is important to note that some are trying to change for the better. The biggest fashion and luxury conglomerate LVMH has spent the past 2 years trying to provide its consumers with unique information about how and where its products are made, it is now trying to simplify its supply chain to comply with the new wave of oncoming regulations. “We have a gap in every Maison'' said LVMH environmental deputy director, Alexandre Caplli.

“Governments need to take bold action, and we need to tell them to be bold at the ballot box and at every opportunity,” Baroness Young said at the VOICES panel. This issue that has gone around for over a decade is finally getting the attention it requires. While change may only currently be limited to the US and EU, the sooner the rest of the world gets involved, the greater the impact will be.



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