France is banning ultra-fast fashion advertising – should Australia do the same?

France is banning ultra-fast fashion advertising – should Australia do the same?

France’s lower house of parliament has unanimously passed a bill introducing a tax per item of ultra-fast fashion clothing and banning ultra-fast fashion advertising, including from companies like Shein and Temu.

Professor Alice Payne, Dean, School of Fashion & Textiles

“The ultra-fast fashion tax that France is establishing is very progressive and recognises the urgency of the issue of overconsumption and textile waste. 

“However, France has had a mandatory extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme in place since 2007, with a levy per item. In terms of the acceptance of such an initiative, France is in a very different industry and political environment to Australia, where an EPR is only now being established.

“To meet the Australian government’s commitment to achieve a circular economy by 2030, change will be required across our society. 

“The ways we design, produce, use, and dispose of all products and materials must be upended – and in six years’ time.

“The Seamless product stewardship scheme is the mechanism that Australian industry and consumers need to work with to help create a circular economy for fashion. 

“This scheme is proposing a 4-cent charge per item on every garment, paid by industry. 

“The purpose of Seamless is to enable Australian fashion and clothing to go truly circular, and to greatly reduce the 200,000 tonnes of clothing that currently goes to Australian landfill each year.

“Funded by the federal government and led by the Australian Fashion Council, a consortium of organisations developed this scheme through industry consultation over 18 months. The resulting scheme, Seamless, led by CEO Ainsley Simpson, is now established as the product stewardship scheme that will put Australian fashion on the path to circularity by transforming outdated business models, driving innovation, changing citizen behaviour, and supporting high value recycling.

“Without question, the direct-to-consumer model of ultra-fast fashion must be tackled, and a tax – both here and in France – is an important approach to curtail overconsumption and direct consumers to acquire clothing from other sources.

“The good news is, the Australian fashion industry can act right now through supporting Seamless to help drive positive, coordinated change for the whole sector, and to advocate on behalf of the Australian community for policy change.”

Dr Alice Payne’s research focuses on environmental and social sustainability issues throughout the life cycle of clothing. Recent work has examined labour issues in the cotton value chain, as well as technologies to address the problem of textile waste. Alice was part of the Australian Fashion Council-led consortium designing the National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme. She is author of the book Designing Fashion’s Future, co-editor of Global Perspectives on Sustainable Fashion, and is an award-winning designer and educator.


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