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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

Members of Congress want people to stop buying ‘fast fashion’

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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In Chile’s Atacama Desert there is a pile of clothes so large it can be seen from space. The discarded textiles are threatening the local environment, but they’re also part of a bigger problem — pollution from something called “fast fashion.” 

“We’ve developed these dual habits in our country: keeping up with every single fashion trend and purchasing cheap, poorly made clothing,” Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said. “They have become drivers of yet one more issue in our climate change crisis.”

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According to the European Union, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions. That is more than maritime shipping and international flights combined. 

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So, Pingree is starting the Slow Fashion Caucus, a group of lawmakers who will try to convince the public to reuse, rewear, repair and recycle clothes. The grouo hopes to enact policies that make it easier to buy second hand or rent clothing, and improve recycling, collection and management of discarded clothes. 

Caucus members also want to mirror European “extended producer responsibility” laws, which require manufacturers to pay for the collection, sorting and recycling of textiles. 

“Powerful institutions want you to feel silly for caring about slow fashion,” Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Wash., said. “But the truth is the churn of cheap, disposable goods is a very useful for extracting wealth from the middle class. When I have to replace my work boots every year instead of the five years that used to work, American trades people lose.” 

One of the biggest names in fast fashion is Shein, a Chinese-based company that made $2 billion in profits in 2023 by selling everything from ballgowns to swim wear at incredibly low prices. There are $4 blouses and $11 sweaters

However, there have been serious questions about its labor practices. 

An investigation by Public Eye found some employees work 75 hours per week. Members of Congress asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to look into accusations of forced labor after it was accused of mistreating Uyghurs

Saturday Night Live poked fun at Chinese fast fashion’s questionable practices with this parody ad.  

The lawmakers are waiting for a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on how the fashion industry and federal agencies like the EPA can better manage discarded clothing and textile waste. 

The group contends people need to move away from low-quality goods that fall apart and the report will give them better ideas on how to do it. 

“The answer is simple, you buy less stuff,” Gluesenkamp Perez said. “Ignore trends, follow your own sense of style.” 

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[RAY BOGAN]

In Chile’s Atacama Desert there is a pile of clothes so large it can be seen from space. These discarded textiles are threatening the local environment, but they’re also part of a bigger problem – pollution from something called “fast fashion.” 

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-ME:We’ve developed these dual habits in our country keeping up with every single fashion trend and purchasing cheap, poorly made clothing, and they have become drivers of yet one more issue in our climate change crisis.”

[RAY BOGAN]

According to the EU – the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, more than maritime shipping and international flights combined. 

So Representative Pingree is starting the Slow Fashion Caucus, a group of lawmakers who will try to convince the public to  reuse, rewear, repair, and recycle clothes. They hope to enact policies that make it easier to buy second hand or rent clothing, and improve recycling, collection and management of discarded clothes. 

They also want to mirror European Extended Producer Responsibility laws which require manufacturers to pay for the collection, sorting and recycling of textiles. 

Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-WA:Powerful institutions want you to feel silly for caring about slow fashion. But the truth is the churn of cheap, disposable goods is a very useful for extracting wealth from the middle class. When I have to replace my work boots every year, instead of the five years that used to work, American trades people lose.” 

[RAY BOGAN]

One of the biggest names in fast fashion is Shein, a Chinese based company that made $2 billion in profits in 2023 by selling everything from ball gowns to swim wear at incredibly low prices. 

There are $4 blouses and $11 sweaters. 

But there have been serious questions about its labor practices. 

An investigation by Public Eye found some employees work 75 hours per week. Members of Congress asked the SEC to look into accusations of forced-labor after it was accused of mistreating Uyghurs. 

Saturday Night Live poked fun at Chinese fast fashion’s questionable practices with this parody ad.  

“Matching sets, all workers paid, even ones with wrong religion. Wait what.” 

The lawmakers are waiting for a report from the Government Accountability Office on how the fashion industry and federal agencies like the EPA can better manage discarded clothing and textile waste. 

They say people need to move away from low quality goods that fall apart, the report will give them better ideas on how to do it. 

Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-WA:The answer is simple, you buy less stuff. Ignore trends, follow your own sense of style.” 

[RAY BOGAN]

Straight Arrow News will continue reporting on legislation that impacts the clothes you buy, so for coverage straight from the Capitol, download the Straight Arrow News app.