Mass. lawmakers’ bill would take a multipronged approach
We applaud Kimberly Atkins Stohr and the Globe for the series “Not so fast, fashion” (Opinion, Nov. 21-25). In Massachusetts, we have been working to address fast fashion with “An act to establish fashion sustainability and social accountability in the Commonwealth.” The bill is based on the Fashion Act from New York state, a link to which was included in Atkins Stohr’s sidebar “Tips: How to be stylish without killing the planet.”
Our bill would address the issues of fast fashion at the state level, taking a multipronged approach. It would require fashion sellers with more than $100 million in global revenue to perform human-rights and environmental assessments and set up company protocols to ensure environmentally and socially responsible business conduct. Annually, these companies must present a due diligence report to the Massachusetts attorney general detailing their business conduct and steps to enhance it. Noncompliant fashion sellers would be civilly liable, and revenue from resulting fines would be deposited in a sustainability fund for use by the attorney general’s office.
The fashion industry is a big source of harmful greenhouse gas emissions and other spillover impacts on the environment. There is no quick fix, but over time society has to find ways to improve the sustainability of this industry. This measure offers a start down that path.
David M. Rogers
Tram T. Nguyen
Rogers represents the 24th Middlesex District and Nguyen the 18th Essex District.
She had no idea the industry was so toxic to the earth
I congratulate the Globe, and particularly Kimberly Atkins Stohr, for the series about the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the fashion industry. I have learned about a problem I had no idea existed. The section with tips about steps people can take to mitigate the damage was also helpful.
One simple plea: Stop buying all that stuff!
I read with sad amusement the suggestions for what people could do with all the crap in their closets in “From wardrobe to waste,” part 2 of “Not so fast, fashion.” I do all of that, but I am close to 70, raised poor and in a different era. Pretty much no one anymore knows how to sew a single stitch (with the exception of crafty outliers who make elaborate stuff). I know people who buy new clothes while their dirty laundry piles up.
The giant, boldfaced, all-caps suggestion I’d offer is: Stop buying all that stuff!
Think about what you really need, and buy things that will last and that won’t look profoundly weird next year. I admit I am caught in the cycle too, though possibly less than most, so let me add this: Resist really good deals. Yes, those are good jeans at a rock-bottom price, but ask yourself why they come so cheap? And consider that you might already have enough jeans to accommodate the legs of a millipede. Just stop. Come up with some other way to make yourself happy.
Onus of sustainability should be on manufacturers, government officials
It’s all well and good that the message is always directed to the consumer to recycle. But the onus should be on the manufacturers of unsustainable clothing and on government authorities that issue permits for manufacturing. If it is stopped at that level, then there would be a reduction in production. Combined with consumers’ diligence about using less and buying only sustainable and biodegradable products, over time there would be a discernible impact.
Find ways to reuse and recycle
Thank you for highlighting the detrimental climate consequences of fast fashion. In part 4 of Kimberly Atkins Stohr’s series, “Reduce, repair, respect,” she cited the statewide ban on the disposal of textiles that went into effect in November 2022. Many communities now partner with businesses such as Helpsy to reuse and recycle textiles.
As a mender and a person who sews, I enjoy the new trend in slow fashion toward visible mending, or the art of making repairs to clothing visible.
The writer leads the Greater Boston chapter of the group Beyond Plastics and is on her town’s Solid Waste and Recycling Advisory Committee.
Innovation can be an art — and a craft
I enjoyed part 5, “A new sketchbook,” on how fashion students are innovating. I hope for a follow-up giving more examples of reusing materials that are about to be discarded.
I have helped kids make dolls out of cardboard cylinders (from toilet paper rolls), colorful rags, and other clean recyclable materials. The photo of the elegant garment made from golden drapes that illustrated Kimberly Atkins Stohr’s article has inspired me to help now with the creation of clothing and accessories from discarded materials for life-sized people!
Online readers react
We asked online readers to share their thoughts on the “Not so fast, fashion” series, and the following is an edited sampling of comments posted on BostonGlobe.com:
The fashion industry is like so many other industries in that its greatest mission is achieving the highest profitability. The biggest downsides to capitalism are the normalization of greed, the exploitation of working people, and the depraved indifference to the effects industry waste has on our environment. (peristroika)
You don’t think there’s greed in socialist countries? You don’t think they’re polluters? (NicksterNH)
This is the topic I’m most passionate about, and I’m especially glad to see attention put on the problem of how our well-intended donations can become environmental disasters for people in other parts of the world. Let’s all slow down the consumption and take care of the clothing we have. I taught myself to darn and repaired some moth holes in a sweater — it was so satisfying and looks pretty cool. (LocalLogic)
Several years ago, my child’s school did a humanitarian collection of clothing for Third World countries. The thank-you gift to those who donated? A T-shirt! (roxanna)