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France on course to penalise fast fashion

Apr 1, 2024 France
France on course to penalise fast fashion
In mid-March, France’s lower parliament approved a bill imposing penalties on ultra-fast fashion products to help offset their environmental impact. The law has now been sent to the Senate
The French parliament has approved a bill containing a series of measures to limit disposable, mass-produced and low-cost fashion – the category of ultra-fast fashion of which Shein and Temu are the most prominent examples. In particular, it calls for gradually increasing penalties of up to 10 euros per item of clothing by 2030 and a ban on advertising such products.

To determine what constitutes “fast fashion”, France will use criteria such as the volume of clothing produced and the speed of rotation of new collections. The exact norms will be published in a decree when the law comes into force.

This evolution of the apparel sector towards ephemeral fashion, combining increased volumes and low prices, is influencing consumer buying habits by creating buying impulses and a constant need for renewal, which is not without environmental, social and economic consequences,” reads the document.

Passed unanimously, the bill has now been sent to the Senate, with Christophe Bechu, the Minister for Ecological Transition, hailing the vote as a historic step towards curbing the “excesses” of fast fashion (Associated Press News).

On the other hand, Shein has told Reuters that the clothes they produce meet existing demand, allowing them to keep their unsold rate consistently in the low single digits, while traditional companies can have a waste rate of up to 40%. The company argues that the only effect of the law would be to “worsen the purchasing power of French consumers at a time when they are already feeling the effects of the cost-of-living crisis”.

With the introduction of these measures, France aims to promote a more sustainable fashion landscape. The news comes as the French Environment Ministry announced that it would propose a ban on the export of used clothing to the European Union in an attempt to tackle the growing problem of textile waste. According to the ecological organisation Refashion, in 10 years, the number of garments sold annually in France has risen by a billion to 3.3 billion (more than 48 per inhabitant) (peggada.com).


Image Credits: ecowatch.com

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