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French parliament approves bill to slow down fast fashion

France’s lower house of parliament has taken a groundbreaking step towards curbing the environmental impact of the fashion industry by unanimously approving a bill targeting fast fashion. This legislation positions France as a global leader in the fight against the environmental degradation caused by the mass production of cheap, disposable clothing.

The fashion industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and France’s bill seeks to reduce the appeal of fast fashion items. Lawmakers voted to send the bill to the Senate for further consideration. If passed, the bill will introduce a series of stringent measures, including:

  • A Ban on Advertising: The most inexpensive textiles will no longer be allowed to be advertised, potentially reducing consumer demand for these fast fashion products.
  • Environmental Levy: A levy will be imposed on low-cost clothing to account for the environmental damage caused by their production and disposal.
  • Transparency and Accountability: Fast fashion giants will be required to disclose the environmental impact of their products, promoting more sustainable practices within the industry.

This legislation aims to achieve a two-fold purpose: environmental protection and safeguarding France’s prestigious high fashion industry.

Interestingly, the timing coincides with French President Emmanuel Macron awarding the Legion d’Honneur, the country’s highest civilian honor, to Bernard Arnault, CEO of luxury goods giant LVMH.

France’s renowned luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel face competition from fast fashion retailers like Zara, H&M, and rising Chinese players like Shein and Temu. The new measures aim to create a more level playing field, encouraging a fashion landscape that prioritizes sustainability.

Fast fashion companies like Shein argue that their business model, while fast-paced, minimizes unsold garments, thus reducing waste. This, they claim, contributes to sustainability. Luxury brands like LVMH are often criticized for generating billions of dollars in unsold inventory annually.

French supporters of the bill view it as a crucial step towards a more sustainable future. They advocate for further action, including a proposed EU-wide ban on exporting used clothing to address the growing problem of textile waste.

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