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France Plans Fashion Revolution With Climate-Impact Labels

France Plans Fashion Revolution With Climate-Impact Labels

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Multiple reports confirm that all clothing items sold in France starting from next year must include a label that details the specific climate impact of the manufacturing process. By 2026, a similar regulation is anticipated to take effect in the European Union.

This could require apparel companies to balance a variety of data points: Where and how were the ingredients cultivated for it? What was the coloring agent used? What distance did it cover? Was coal or solar energy used to power the factory?

Utilizing 500 actual articles of clothing, the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME) is exploring 11 ideas on how to gather and compare data as well as what the consumer-facing label would be like.

“The message of the law is clear — it will become obligatory, so brands need to prepare, to make their products traceable, to organize the automatic collection of data,” Erwan Autret, one of the coordinators at ADEME, told the media. “Some say the models are too simple, some say they’re too complicated, but it’s a sign of the maturity of the debate that no one questions the need for these calculations anymore.”

The fashion industry, according to the UN, is 10% of the world’s carbon emissions. Additionally, it contributes significantly to trash production and water usage. Labels, according to campaigners, can help significantly with the environmental impact.

“It will force brands to be more transparent and informed… to collect data and create long-term relationships with their suppliers — all things they’re not used to doing,” said Victoire Satto of The Good Goods, a media agency focused on sustainable fashion. “Right now it seems infinitely complex,” she added. “But we’ve seen it applied in other industries such as medical supplies.”

Premiere Vision, a Paris-based textiles convention, highlighted new techniques in a presentation, highlighting non-toxic leather tanning, waste- and fruit-based colors, and even biodegradable undergarments. But according to Ariane Bigot, the deputy head of fashion at Premiere Vision, sustainability lies in choosing the appropriate fabric for the correct item. France Climate Impact Labels

That means synthetic and oil-based fabrics will still have a place, she said: “A strong synthetic with a very long lifespan might be right for some uses, such as an over-garment that needs little washing.”

Capturing all these trade-offs in one simple label on an item of clothing is therefore tricky. “It’s very complicated,” said Bigot. “But we need to get the machine started.”

Featured image: venimo | iStock


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