Global Climate action and sustainable development

Fast fashion: Case studies and resources for local government


Every week, we highlight inspiration and innovation from local government worldwide. In this article, we’re focusing on how local government can help tackle issues surrounding fast fashion pollution. You’ll find best practice from the USA, Australia and France, along with plenty of practical policy and resources.

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Policy innovation and inspiration examples from the local government sector

USA: Diverting hundreds of tonnes of clothing from landfill in New York City

Around 100,000 tonnes of clothing are sent to landfill each year in New York City. In 2019, the City of New York launched an interactive online map plotting some 1,100 locations where unwanted clothing could be dropped off and eventually reused. The city then launched the #WearNext communications campaign, connecting public authorities, the fashion industry, recycling industry figures and the second-hand market to encourage the use of these drop-off points, while educating the public on their reuse options. The campaign saw views of the interactive map increase nearly 40 times over, while 583 tonnes worth of clothing was collected and some drop-off locations recording a 48% increase.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Australia: The world’s longest and largest sustainable fashion festival

Western Australia is home to Eco Fashion Week Australia, a month-long festival dedicated to showcasing the latest in eco-friendly fashion and exploring themes connected to climate change via design. More than 40 designers are set to take part in the event in the state’s South West, and this year, the festival is attempting to set a world record. The festival is home to the longest jetty in the southern hemisphere, to be transformed into what could be the world’s longest catwalk. Alongside catwalk shows, artist talks and workshops, art exhibitions and clothes swaps, the event is also calling on designers from around the world to enter its upcycling challenge to share creative ways to repurpose textiles.
Eco Fashion Week Australia / Eco Fashion Week Australia

Paris fashion scheme aims to establish capital of sustainable fashion status

Launched by the City of Paris in 2019, the Paris Good Fashion initiative sets out to position the French capital as the capital of sustainable fashion, in advance of the Olympic Games later this year. More than 100 organisations have joined the initiative since its inception, including major fashion businesses and groups like LVMH and Lacoste, to retailers, federations and non-profits, representing between 60 and 70% of the French market in terms of turnover. The initiative has organised more than 50 projects and actions, ranging from a consultation of over 100,000 citizens to a working group on poly-bags to mapping eco-responsible actors.
Fashion United

USA: Local students make prom eco-friendly

High school students in Michigan, USA, are challenging the tradition of buying new outfits for prom by promoting sustainable fashion. Students have been organising clothing swaps and advocating for renting outfits instead of buying new ones. The shift towards sustainable fashion for this event has been driven by concerns about the environmental impact of fast fashion. The aim is to raise awareness about the benefits of reducing consumption and promoting ethical fashion choices, particularly in the context of prom, a traditionally materialistic event.

Resources to help build stronger communities

Old file folders books

The environmental costs of fast fashion
This UNEP explainer highlights some of the shocking statistics stemming from the fast fashion craze and touches on the work done globally to create a circular economy in the fashion industry.

Fashion Transparency Index 2023
How much information do the world’s largest fashion brands disclose? This index details supply chains, purchasing practices, overproduction, the just transition, and other factors to answer this question.

Behavioural roadmap to circular consumption
This roadmap explores how Australia can adopt more sustainable and circular consumption practices. Specifically, it considers eight core behaviours that could be adopted by individual and organisational consumers to reduce material consumption. Designed for policymakers, advocates, and business and industry leaders, the roadmap also considers the role of other actors who influence circular consumption, such as governments, designers, community organisations and retailers.

Beyond growth: a wellbeing economy for the textile and garment sector
This paper examines the global garment and textile industry to identify current attributes of the wellbeing economy – aspects that support quality of life without exceeding planetary boundaries. This report highlights how significant societal transformations will be needed to achieve growth-alternative economic approaches in the fashion industry, but these transformations will lead to better planetary and human health outcomes.

Textile pledges toolkit
Brighton and Hove City Council
have developed this toolkit to help divert textiles from landfills and keep them in circulation longer. It explores the transition to a circular textile economy, the best ways to reduce waste, pledges you can make to champion the circular economy, and other resources.

Looking for even more on this topic? Check out our collection of resources on pollution! Make sure you subscribe to LGIU to never miss out on this essential service for the local government sector everywhere.


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