If sustainability becomes law: the case of New York

It is called the Fashion Act, but its full name is the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act. And if it becomes law, it promises to revolutionise the commercial approach of brands and labels, from fast fashion to luxury, in the Big Apple. Let’s see why


The Statue of Liberty may soon also be called the Statue of Sustainability. Indeed, in New York, legislators have written the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act, otherwise known as the Fashion Act for short. If passed, a bill will put luxury brands and labels in front of a new reality.

The case of New York

The Fashion Act will require brands with more than $100 million in annual sales (both luxury and fast fashion) to generate commercial revenue in New York, to map (in the sense of listing and tracing) at least 50% of their supply chain. In other words: from the origin of the materials to the product on display. The brand will then be forced to reveal the names of its leading suppliers. Then: how many and which materials these suppliers produce annually together with the volume of recycled raw materials used. And it doesn’t end there.

If sustainability becomes law

They will be required to publish an annual ‘social and environmental sustainability report’, disclose their climate and social impact, and set annual targets to reduce it. So, it’s not a matter of signaling good green intentions, but of doing and acting. Companies will have 12 months to comply with the mapping and 18 months for everything else. Those who don’t adhere to the law can be fined up to 2% of their annual revenues, more than $450 million.

The goal of the Fashion Act

For lawmakers and supporters of the law, the goal is to make the market a “level playing field, with equal rules for all“. Starting from fast fashion brands/symbols (example: Shein) to higher segment brands. According to Maxine Bédat (founder of the New Standard Institute and supporter of the Fashion Act), the aim is to put “everyone on the same line” so that “everyone does the right thing”.

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