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The end of t-shirts at 2 euros?

The end of t-shirts at 2 euros?

Sustainability is the buzzword for the ditto industry. There are hardly any firms that do not use the term to explain themselves, as a sign of identity or even as a sales argument. The younger generations do not give up on it, say all the reports from consultants that herald a very green future: 43% of Gen Z members are actively looking for companies with a strong sustainable reputationdefends the report The State of Fashion 2022 from the consulting firm McKinsey and Business of Fashion. But at the same time, fast fashion steps on the accelerator (even more) and breaks any barrier. So many that it is now called ultrafast because the term fast fashion It falls short.

Companies like Shein or Pretty Little Thing leave the speed of Zara (which became famous worldwide at the beginning of the century for shortening its maturation period to a few days) at the height of haute couture. Precisely the first monopolized headlines this month by preparing a round of financing in which it hopes to raise no less than 1,000 million dollars. The Chinese company is valued at 100,000 million, which is more or less the value of Inditex (owner of Zara) and H&M together or the GDP of a country like Morocco, according to UN data.

Excessive figures that, in the specific case of Shein, are based on a promise, that of the model of less is more that has already made Amazon one of the giants on the planet: less price to get more sales. The company, founded in 2008 by Chris Xu, is not going badly and since 2019 it has quadrupled its profits. But its accounts are as opaque as its supply chain. Still, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that, selling t-shirts for 2 euros or skirts for 3, his business isn’t on the fat margins. His strategy is more about economies of scale, selling millions of those T-shirts of questionable quality and probably produced under labor conditions that no advocate of fair trade would like. The model, which only works if sales accelerate, puts the planet in even more jeopardy.

Dana Thomas writes in her book Fashionopolis that of the more than 100,000 million articles of clothing that are manufactured each year, 20% remain unsold, “it is the detritus of economies of scale.” The terrifying images of dunes of clothes in the Atacama desert They give only an idea of ​​the problem. “The European Union disposes of 5.8 million tons of clothing and textile products a year,” says Thomas. “Most of it goes to Africa, and we justify it because the poorest continent needs free clothes.” The waste of the fashion industry, which in many cases is based on that model that Shein approaches paroxysm, poses a global threat. But are not the only ones.

The fashion sector pollutes and pollutes a lot. It’s unlikely, even if it is repeatedly repeated, that it is the second most polluting industry because there are too many manufacturers fighting for the ballots to take that podium. But that does not exempt. And the solution does not depend either on a single actor, but on a cast. Neither companies with their sustainable plans, nor consumers recycling t-shirts are going to do it on their own. At this point, state intervention is also essential. This is how Extinction Rebellion activist Sara Arnold pointed it out to this magazine a couple of years ago: “It is clear that the change we need is disruptive and that it is going to have a brutal impact. A transition is needed and it needs to be initiated by governments. Political initiative is essential to change this situation. Political power, obviously, comes from the citizens, but change will only be possible if measures are taken at the governmental level”.

Is it possible to glimpse a future without fast fashion? The European Union believes so and has a plan for it. The Strategy for sustainable textile products of the European Commission, outlined less than a month ago, pursues the ambitious goal that the fast fashion gone out of style by 2030. “It will help the EU in its transition to a climate-neutral circular economy, in which products are designed to be more durable, reusable, repairable, recyclable and energy efficient.” For the next decade, it is expected that clothing will have “long life” and be made “with recycled fibers, without dangerous substances and produced respecting social rights and the environment.” In France, already in February of this year, a law was passed that prohibits the destruction of fashion and luxury products in good condition.

The plan is based on a battery of measures that seek to modify all processes: from design to repair or reuse after use. Awareness activities, financing aimed at improving production processes, the development of new materials or new business models; greater regulation of terms such as that ubiquitous ‘sustainable’, clearer labels, creation of a digital passport… Companies are even asked “to reduce the number of collections per year”. Also that manufacturers assume “responsibility for their products throughout the value chain, even after becoming waste.” The industry, which according to the Commission employs one and a half million people in the Union, has an annual turnover of 162,000 million euros. The initiatives are included within a broader plan that wants “all physical goods marketed in the EU to be more environmentally friendly, adapted to the circular economy and efficient from an energy point of view throughout their life cycle” . An a project as broad as it is complex that, if carried out in the textile field, could make Europe the fashion leader of the future.

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– Article Written By @Patricia Rodríguez from https://smoda.elpais.com/moda/moda-ultrarrapida-fast-fashion-shein-union-europea/

Nicole Aniston