Show Your Support: The Fashion Industry Must Change

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The $2.4 trillion apparel industry has grown rapidly over the past two decades. Due to cheap production costs and the influence of social media, an abundance of inexpensive clothing, also known as “fast fashion,” has flooded the market. This model is based on a “take-make-waste” approach, with garments designed to be worn and discarded quickly.

The consequences of this model are staggering. Textile waste is disposed of in landfills or incinerated, with apparel companies producing 100 billion garments per year, and less than 1% of clothing is recycled. Additionally, the industry is responsible for 10% of carbon emissions, consumes 20% of global wastewater, and pollutes rivers and groundwater with pesticides and harsh chemicals. 60% of all clothing is made of polyester and contains microplastics, and washing these garments accounts for 35% of ocean microplastics.

Many companies in the fashion industry also engage in “greenwashing,” making false claims about sustainable fabrics and production methods. The true sustainable efforts made by these companies are minimal and unable to keep pace with their output.

Individuals alone cannot regulate fast fashion. Government regulations must be implemented. We are calling on the Biden Administration to enact legislation that:

  • Holds the fashion industry accountable for reducing carbon emissions to align with the 1.5 degree pathway set out by the 2015 Paris Agreement
  • Requires the fashion industry to be responsible for sustainably disposing of their waste materials and used clothing
  • Prohibits the use of any virgin synthetic materials
  • Requires garments to be labeled for transparency and traceability, and requires compliance with the Fair Trade Commission’s Green Guidelines for accuracy in sustainability claims
  • Imposes a carbon tax on all clothing made from virgin synthetic materials
  • Mandates that all new washing machines have filters installed to capture plastic microfibers
  • Restricts the manufacture, import, and export of clothing containing harmful chemicals/substances
  • Eliminates unfair practices for apparel workers working below minimum wage or in unsafe factories, and creates multilateral accountability that holds not only factories but brands liable for unsafe conditions and unpaid wages
  • Bans the importation of clothing made with indentured servitude or child labor
  • Educates consumers on how to effectively recycle used clothing

By implementing these regulations, the fashion industry can be held accountable for the environmental and social impact of their operations and be part of the solution to the environmental crisis.