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Ban on advertising, “bonus-malus”… “Fast fashion” in the sights of MPs

MPs from the Horizons group will defend a bill aimed at financially penalizing “fast fashion” and banning the advertising of its brands, during their parliamentary “niche” on March 14, according to parliamentary sources.

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Ban on advertising, “bonus-malus”… “Fast fashion” in the sights of MPs

MPs from the Horizons group will defend a bill aimed at financially penalizing “fast fashion” and banning the advertising of its brands, during their parliamentary “niche” on March 14, according to parliamentary sources. The text carried by Anne-Cécile Violland - one of the seven that the group will present, member of the majority - targets the brands and e-commerce sites which offer an innumerable quantity of clothing at low prices and of lower quality, for the most part imported from Asia.

The objective is to “reduce the environmental impact of the textile industry”, by providing better information for consumers, and by prohibiting advertising for companies and products relating to this ephemeral fashion. It provides for a modulation of the “ecocontribution” paid by companies according to their environmental impact, in order to reduce the price gap between products from “fast fashion” and those from more virtuous sectors.

Also read: How Uniqlo invented “quiet luxury” at the cost of fast fashion

The explanatory memorandum of the proposed law points to a “runaway” in the sector, with each year “more than 100 billion” pieces of clothing sold worldwide, a phenomenon driven by “fast fashion” brands, the most of which emblematic is the Chinese company Shein. Accused of forced labor, of inciting overconsumption, singled out for the environmental impact of its products and lacking in transparency regarding its production, Shein also attracts the wrath of environmental and human rights defenders.

In response, the company said Tuesday that it shares “lawmakers’ interest in promoting responsible supply chain management and protecting our environment.” The Chinese brand maintains that its model is “fundamentally different from that of “fast fashion”” and ensures that it follows “the best international practices in terms of sustainable development and social commitments”.

LR MP Antoine Vermorel also tabled a bill on the subject, which also proposes a “bonus-malus” system of up to five euros per item for “ultra-fast-fashion” companies, which bring more than 1,000 new products to market per day. Concretely, it is these companies which “would pay the contribution”, they are then free to “integrate these costs into their charges, apply it to consumers or change their practices”, underlines Antoine Vermorel in Le Figaro. “We will discuss with Horizons to reach an agreement,” he adds, affirming that his group will not “follow” Anne-Cécile Violland a priori on the ban on advertising. The latter specified that it had set up a working group in which the president of the Ecologist group, Cyrielle Chatelain, participated.

These proposals were welcomed by professionals in the sector. “All initiatives aimed at combating unfair competition from Shein, Temu and others are welcome,” responded Olivier Ducatillion, president of the Union of Textile Industries. The president of the women's ready-to-wear federation Yann Rivoallan considered “judicious” any project aimed at sanctioning “economically, ecologically and socially dangerous behavior”.

For Pierre Talamon, president of the National Clothing Federation (FNH), we must penalize those who engage in “commercial marketing and overproduction techniques which push you to buy clothes to wear them 7 to 8 times then put them in the trash.” These companies that sell online “do not create jobs, they destroy them,” the professional still criticizes. In 2023 on Shein, “we had access to 470,000 products at the same time”. Compared to “a Zara which produces 500 products per week, the situation is not at all the same, but that should not excuse high-volume production”.

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