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Is Fashion shaping policy?


February 3, 2020


My newsfeed in the past months have shown more articles about politicians and businesses taking  action towards a more sustainable policy in the apparel industry than it has ever before. 

This wave of action comes as a decisive effort of most stakeholders to correct all that is wrong with the sector today. 

On the one hand, campaigns, publications, news on fast fashion has become “mainstream trends” and on the other hand climate change is no longer to most people a horrible scientific scenario but an alarming reality.

Among the most promising and probably “loudest” initiatives taken lately has been the one proposed by President Macron for the G7 meeting in Biarritz. The President of the French State, called Francois-Henri Pinault, Chief-Executive of Kering -one of the most powerful groups in fashion- and asked for the clothing industry to take immediate action  in order to minimize its effects on the environment. This resulted in a Pact (“The Fashion Pact”), signed by 32 brands -luxury, medium and even low cost- committing themselves to become greener. To name a few:  Adidas, Burberry, Chanel, H&M, Ralph Lauren and Stella McCartney.  France has always taken Climate Change seriously. At this point even more. Since the beginning of Macron’s service, numerous initiatives have been implemented, almost making it a flag issue for his presidential term.

Another promising effort came from the British government who launched a new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). The goal was to engage all MPs from across every party to examine practices on supply chains, consumer behaviour and textiles and other materials. The first meeting took place soon after and was successful, gathering all types of stakeholders such as major retailers, industry, representatives and recycling experts. [1] 

United Nations and specifically, UN Climate Change (UNFCC) along with fashion stakeholders “worked during 2018 to identify ways in which the broader textile, clothing and fashion industry can move towards a holistic commitment to climate action” [2] The results came in the form of a Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.

But not only policy makers seem to be mobilizing. The sector itself has identified its hazardous nature and practices. 

In the field of publications, Conde Naste, is the first media outlet to sign the United Nation's Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. Influential magazines such as Vogue and GQ will take the responsibility to raise the readers’ awareness on sustainability in fashion and disseminate best practices as well as the importance of acting against Climate Change. 

In the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, many important actors in the apparel industry signed a Manifesto. This Manifesto calls for action in three ways:

i. making fashion a more circular industry in order to become zero-waste, 

ii. using more innovative ways in manufacturing clothes and 

ii. promoting policies that would urge consumers to turn to more sustainable shopping.

Eva Kruse, CEO and President, Global Fashion Agenda, says, "This manifesto is extremely significant as it is the first time so many influential organisations in the fashion industry have come together to work with policymakers on a unified approach to circularity. Consumption is only going to grow, and if we do not act now to find a solution to the take-make-dispose model, the strain on our planet will get much worse. We urgently need widespread collaboration between industry and regulators to enact impactful circular solutions, and I hope this manifesto will help to drive change at scale." [3]

These kind of initiatives have started some time before, with movements like “Who made my Clothes” by Fashion Revolution demanding transparency in the clothing industry and entities like Ecoage that has been providing consultancy to grand firms.


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[1].https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/sustainable-clothes-textiles-appg-fast-fashion-environment-a9011226.html

[2].https://unfccc.int/climate-action/sectoral-engagement/global-climate-action-in-fashion/about-the-fashion-industry-charter-for-climate-action

[3].https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/fixing-one-of-fashion-s-biggest-issues-leading-organisations-partner-to-launch-new-manifesto-on-circularity-1028197994

Natalia Vodianova by georgiakoo

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