The Weekly Journal | Fashion
By Gary Parkinson - April 5, 2022
WHAT ABOUT CANADA?
EU Discouraging Disposable Fast Fashion
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
The progressive fight to save what’s left of the environment is an ongoing movement that goes through peaks and valleys. But one positive development coming out of Europe could mark a breakthrough for more widespread adoption of sustainable fashion lines and less reliance on mass manufactured fast fashion apparel.
The European Commission is proposing new legislation to crack down on the “fast fashion” industry. While explicit details of the new laws are not expected to surface until 2023, the move signals that Europe is leading the way to adopt more sustainable fashion while penalizing brands that continue contributing to fossil fuel and human rights problems triggered by the global fashion industry.
End of wasteful destruction of fashion apparel
According to Nusa Urbancic, Campaigns Director at the Changing Markets Foundation, the new rules also seek to place a ban on the destruction of unsold fashion items. Every time an old piece of clothing is thrown out, it contributes textile waste to the atmosphere.
Even worse, used clothing that’s thrown out or donated by Europeans is often shipped off to less developed nations. Unfortunately, most of the apparel that arrives in those countries is useless to the locals, which means it ends up burned or destroyed. These actions also contribute to the growing greenhouse gas emissions problem facing the atmosphere, and the EU wants to crack down on how citizens throw out old clothing to reduce these side effects.
According to Urbancic, 15 million pieces of clothing are shipped to places like Ghana every week. But a not insignificant amount of that clothing ends up being destroyed.
"Of the 15 million garments that are shipped to Ghana every week, an estimated 40% are worthless on arrival, and end up in giant burning landfills. "
Legislation will also crack down on greenwashing claims
While many citizens across the world are ready, willing and able to embrace sustainable fashion products, people still inadvertently end up purchasing less than sustainable clothing. Why is that? Unfortunately, as the world becomes more environmentally conscious, companies have figured out how to mislead consumers with vague advertisements claiming their products are eco-friendly with recycled materials.
Upon closer inspection, clothing produced by those companies still uses textiles that are the trademarks of fast fashion apparel. This is an egregious example of greenwashing that successfully fools people into believing they’re buying more eco-friendly clothing when, in actuality, they’re still buying the same old products produced en masse in overseas factories.
According to Urbancic and her team at the Changing Markets Foundation, up to 59 percent of sustainable claims made by fashion brands are either somewhat misleading or outright lies. They’ve launched a website that tracks the biggest greenwashing offenders in the hopes of steering more consumers towards true eco-friendly products.
Does Canada need similar legislation?
The European legislation is the first of its kind, and it will apply to companies that sell fashion and apparel in any European Union member nation. The hope is to make Europe a leading governing body in the fight against climate change, which the fashion industry sadly contributes towards through outdated manufacturing processes. Over 2 billion metric tonnes of GHGs are emitted by fashion brands, making the global fashion industry one of the largest emitters of GHGs across the entire planet.
With Europe taking the lead on the sustainable fashion movement, what should Canada do to keep up the pace, if not overtake Europe as the leader in eco-friendly apparel? Similar legislation from Ottawa would be a welcome gesture of goodwill on the part of the Canadian government to take the issues of fast fashion more seriously. It would send a signal that Canada will no longer tolerate the practices that have contributed to our planet’s growing problems.
It would also align with where the largest body of Canadian consumers are from a values point of view. Millennials and younger Canadians are not only more environmentally conscious, but they’re actively demanding that brands become more eco-friendly to retain their business.
Companies like Wolfe Co. Apparel & Goods are leading faces of the sustainable fashion movement. These types of brands provide socially conscious Canadian citizens with an opportunity to embrace sustainable fashion products that look amazing, feel incredible, and function as visual representations of the fight to preserve the planet’s natural beauty.
Our mission is to make a difference for the good of future generations, and we encourage you to make an impact the next time you choose to buy a new fashion item. Want to chat more? Please connect with us using our LiveChat function 7 days a week from 9AM-9PM. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.