Posted on: January 11, 2022 Posted by: Ariel Tattum Comments: 0

As the fashion capital of the U.S., New York is aiming to be the first state to enforce major legislative changes that will propel the fashion industry toward a more sustainable and socially responsible future. On Friday, key sponsors Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblymember Dr. Anna Kelles publicly introduced The Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act (or, The Fashion Act) S7428/A8352 to tackle the environmental and social shortcomings of the fashion industry. The “common sense protections,” according to Kelles, within the bill demand global fashion companies who conduct business in New York with revenue of at least $100 million disclose at least 50 percent of their supply chain, material use, wages of workers, and carbon impact to ensure they align with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Failure to do so within 12 months will result in fees that will fund environmental justice initiatives in New York state. 

This type of regulation is not only momentous for a $2.5 trillion industry that is responsible for as much as 8.6 percent of global carbon emissions, but necessary to pave the way for a better industrial future. But this kind of legislation doesn’t just materialize in front of senators. Maxine Bédat, director of the New Standard Institute, through her experience raising awareness of fashion’s negative impact, she came to the realization that the industry simply cannot save itself and citizens may need to step up than wait for change to happen: “Wait, we’re going to have to be the ones who do this.” Her background in law came into play as she set out nearly a year ago to draft a bill. Step one was to determine the biggest problems and biggest points of impact of the industry and then what rules would be needed to tackle them. “It’s one thing to critique the industry and it is quite another to set the rules of how the system should actually work,” says Bédat.