Ban on advertising for the sale of clothing at knockdown prices and reinforced environmental “penalty” to make them less attractive: The National Assembly unanimously adopted measures aimed at curbing fast fashion, this Thursday, March 14. The bill, adopted at first reading, will now have to be examined by the Senate. It comes from the Horizons group, as part of its day reserved at the Palais Bourbon.

Despite reservations, she received the support of all groups in the chamber. This text will make France “the first country in the world to legislate to limit the excesses of ultra-fast fashion”, welcomed the Minister of Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu.

In a context of declining purchasing power, the saturation of the market with inexpensive, constantly renewed and massively imported clothing has shaken the sector, where store closures and legal receiverships are increasing. But it is the environmental angle that the text presented by Horizons MP Anne-Cécile Violland highlights: “The textile industry is the most polluting, it represents 10% of greenhouse gas emissions”, a- she stressed, also mentioning water pollution.

The bill gives a definition of “fast fashion”, with criteria based on the volumes produced and the speed of renewal of collections. But it refers to decrees to set numerical thresholds. In the viewfinder: intensive production practices pushed to their climax by the emblematic Chinese company Shein and its “7,200 new clothing models per day” on average. The companies targeted would have an obligation to make consumers aware of “the environmental impact” of their products.

The main measure is the strengthening of the “bonus-malus” system in the textile sector, to take into account the “environmental costs” of excessive production. The penalty would be linked to the “environmental labeling” of products, a new rating method to be implemented. Its amount, to be set by decree, could gradually reach up to 10 euros per product in 2030, with a ceiling of 50% of the sales price. An amendment provided for levels to reach these 10 euros, in particular a first at 5 euros in 2025.

“It is not a tax,” insisted Anne-Cécile Violland, with the contributions having to be redistributed in favor of producers of sustainable clothing, with the aim of reducing their prices.

The other flagship measure is the “ban on advertising for products and companies” falling under the definition of “fast fashion”, customary for aggressive marketing. This provision was supported by all groups, except Les Républicains (LR). “If you ban advertising on textiles, in particular fashion, you no longer have fashion,” said LR deputy Antoine Vermorel-Marques.

Rebels, ecologists and socialists pleaded – in vain – to set minimum penalties and import quotas, as well as to impose criteria for respecting social rights in the textile industry. They also failed to include in the law the numerical thresholds defining “express fashion”, as LR also requested. “The devil is in the decrees,” worried LFI MP Alma Dufour, fearing that the Ministry of the Economy would reduce the ambition of the text through regulations. On the other hand, she welcomed a government amendment allowing the integration of online sales platforms (“marketplace”).

The coalition of NGOs “Stop Fast Fashion” had called on parliamentarians to provide thresholds allowing “not to penalize only Shein or Temu”, estimating that “brands like Zara, Primark, H

For Shein, this text “disproportionately penalizes the most cost-conscious consumers”. According to a spokesperson, the number of references “is not a relevant indicator” to define “fast fashion”, rather linked, according to the brand, to the scale of unsold items. The Commerce Alliance, which brings together department stores, has expressed reservations about basing the “penalty” on “environmental display”. Its general director, Yohann Petiot, said he feared that the text would “miss its target” by impacting national companies rather than “ultra fast fashion”.