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May 4, 2024

France Has Proposed a Fast Fashion Tax

Is France’s proposed 5 euro fast fashion tax a step in the right direction for sustainable fashion or another way to punish the poor?

France Has Proposed a Fast Fashion Tax ... where do we draw the line between sustainability and punishing the poor?

Overview

Antoine Vermorel-Marques, a French politician of The Republicans, has proposed a €5 consumer penalty for fast-fashion purchases and a ban on advertising for such companies. The bill gradually increases the penalty up to 10 euros per item sold, or up to 50% of the selling price, by 2030.

In an interview with the quarterly narrative journalism publication Usbek&Rica, Vermorel-Marques explained how the system is meant to work: While a fast-fashion shopper would be slapped with a €5 penalty for every purchase, a person buying an environmentally friendly and domestically-produced piece of clothing would instead receive a €5 bonus.

Proposed Tax Benefits

The law was created to encourage sustainability and support local French brands.

Environmental Sustainability

Brands like Shein, singled out in the bill, make more than 2,000 styles a day, promoting overconsumption and large amounts of waste. Fast fashion brands also majorly contribute to the climate crisis, as research has found that Shein emits 6.3million tons of CO2 a year- the equivalent of 180 coal-fired power plants.

Local Economy

This bill is also meant to support local French Brands as many are unable to compete with cheap foreign rivals due to high domestic production costs. Many French mid-range clothing shops are being forced to close hundreds of shops and lay off thousands of workers.

Criticism

The proposed law has been met with mixed reactions. Critics argue it disproportionately punishes lower-income individuals who may rely on affordable fast-fashion brands. This bill puts the burden on consumers as opposed to the producers who are responsible for the negative environmental impact.

Cécile Désaunay, director of studies at Futuribles said that this €5 penalty is particularly sensitive “because it touches on what is considered the freedom to consume".

Status of the Bill

The bill was unanimously approved in France’s lower house of parliament and is now headed to the senate, either to approve it, edit it, or send back to the lower house .

References

- https://usbeketrica.com/fr/article/shein-detruit-la-filiere-textile-francaise-sans-creer-un-seul-emploi

- https://www.france24.com/en/france/20240222-france-s-fast-fashion-kill-bill-green-move-or-penalty-for-the-poor

- https://time.com/6247732/shein-climate-change-labor-fashion/#:~:text=to%20Us%20All-,Shein%20Is%20the%20World's%20Most%20Popular%20Fashion%20Brand%E2%80%94at,Huge%20Cost%20to%20Us%20All&text=Just%20before%20Christmas%2C%20M%C3%A9lo,fashion%20e%2Dretailer%20from%20China.

- https://www.politico.eu/article/fashion-victims-french-pret-a-porter-brands-suffer-age-online-shopping-vinted-shein/

- https://www.cnn.com/2024/03/15/style/france-fast-fashion-bill-intl-hnk/index.html

- https://apnews.com/article/fast-fashion-france-environment-bill-parliament-lvmh-a85da46b3a159e04d8789bfc15cb2be8