Australians Buy 56 New Clothes Per Person Every Year - Seriously?

Australians Buy 56 New Clothes Per Person Every Year - Seriously?

You're not going to believe this, but Australians buy more new clothes per person than any other nation on the planet. Not exactly the kind of world-beating record we want, is it? It translates to a mind-blowing 2,240 new clothing items for the average Australian woman in her prime shopping years.  Sustainable fashion in Australia – we have a problem. 


France Leading the Way in Circular Fashion Economy

While French fashion has always been très chic, France is now pioneering exciting eco-friendly moves too. Their Parliament recently gave the green light to bold policies making cheap, disposable fast fashion – especially ultra-budget items from Chinese mega-manufacturers – way less enticing for shoppers.

Talk about trailblazing – France is now the world's first country with laws explicitly aimed at reining in the excesses of ultra-fast fashion. Leading the charge is a straight-up ad ban on dirt-cheap clothing, plus an environmental tax on low-priced items. Smart move, considering textile is one of the biggest polluting industries, creating 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and nasty water pollution.


Defining Unsustainable Fast Fashion

So how will they define unsustainable fast fashion? France will set clear criteria based on production volumes and how frequently new clothing lines launch. Companies crossing those thresholds must educate consumers on their environmental impact and adopt responsible fashion practices.


Environmental Tax to Bolster Sustainable Fashion

But here's the potential gamechanger: The new law imposes an environmental tax starting at €5 (AU$7.65) per fast fashion clothing item in 2024, climbing to €10 (AU$15.30) per item by 2030. The tax revenue won't just vanish into government coffers, though – it's actually earmarked to subsidise and bolster sustainable fashion producers, helping them better compete against fast fashion giants.


Australia Needs to Channel That French Eco-Chi

With a jaw-dropping 200,000 tonnes of textiles hitting Australian landfills yearly – practically the weight of four Sydney Harbour Bridges – we're overdue for serious action on clothing waste. The federal government's proposed 4 cent Seamless scheme levy is a stride in the right direction, but we could definitely take inspiration from France's much bolder moves against fast fashion excesses.

As leaders in sustainable underwear, we at Underwear for Humanity have to give France a massive round of applause for paving this trail. A fast fashion tax revolution could be exactly what the world needs to combat overproduction, clothing waste, and environmental damage. Vive la révolution!


How Can You Frenchify Your Wardrobe in an Eco-Friendly Way

You don't have to wait for governments to get their act together to start rocking some sustainable style. Just follow these tips to go green with your wardrobe:


Thrift Like It's Hot

Racks on racks of pre-loved gems just waiting to be rescued from permanent retirement? Thrifting is the ultimate win-win – an endless supply of unique, affordable threads PLUS you're reducing demand for new production. Dig through the local op-shops to breathe new life into someone else's cast-offs. Embracing second-hand fashion is a significant step towards a sustainable lifestyle.


Swap, Don't Shop

Why blow cash when you can swap that top you never wear for your bestie's purged purse? Clothing swaps are the new girls' night in – just BYOC (bring your own clothes) and go home with a fresh outfit without spending a cent. Sustainability made social! Clothing swaps promote conscious consumerism and help reduce waste in the fashion industry.


Rent That Runway

Need a fire outfit for your cousin's wedding/school formal/fur baby’s first birthday? Instead of dropping dollars on a one-wear wonder, rent the runway (literally) with the endless designer digs available on clothing rental apps. This is a fantastic way to support green fashion brands and engage in zero-waste fashion.


Get Crafty

Why just window shop when you can get creative and upcycle those old clothes into fresh new pieces? With some snazzy patches, mad embroidery skills, or a sewing machine, you can revive your wardrobe in whatever flavour fits your vibe. Upcycled fashion is not only fun but also reduces the environmental impact of fashion.


Invest in Binge-Proof Basics

Fast fashion is basically the binge-watching of the clothing world – lots of regrettable stuff you'll never rewatch. Cure your impulse shopping habit by investing in versatile, high-quality staples and creating your own signature style that stands the test of time (and trends). Choosing items from Australian sustainable brands and those with ethical sourcing and sustainable manufacturing practices is key to maintaining a sustainable supply chain and promoting social responsibility in fashion.

By embracing these eco-friendly habits, you can make a significant impact on the environment and champion the cause of sustainable fashion in Australia.

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