Reuse and repair in the era of fast fashion
In order to cut fashion waste, the French government will pay a repair bonus to help people with their damaged clothes and shoes. An amount from 6€ to 25€ will cover the repairing cost of garments in workshops or cobblers who will be part of the scheme.
Indeed, an alarming amount of clothes end up in landfills. Since fashion brands keep putting out new garments in huge quantities, governments must find solutions.
The point on fashion waste
The news sounds really great! But let’s consider a few things:
Would anyone throw away clothes of value? Of course, not. Or, at least, it is extremely rare. The garments ending up in the garbage bin aren’t pieces made to last but clothing intentionally made for that purpose. Buy, wear and toss. That is mass production: low prices, poor quality and slaves for manufacturing (individuals no one cares about because if they did, they would stop buying certain products).
In fact, over the last twenty years, purchasing fast-fashion clothing and shoes has become popular. Rich and poor people enjoy it. For the rich is a whim, and for the low-income a necessity. But both love purchasing products that last like a bag of chips.
Product longevity is one of the principles that attests to sustainability. What demonstrates product longevity?
What if the repair cost is higher than the average price tag?
Now, it makes sense to put a patch on the bleeding, but common sense should guide human choices. Therefore, can we cut fashion waste without stopping fast fashion? It doesn’t seem likely. In fact, curing the illness without eliminating the cause isn’t a good strategy.
Here comes the second point, if the French government wants to fight fashion waste, why did they allow the Shein runway in Paris? It may sound like a joke, but in the case of ultra-fast fashion, the repair costs would be higher than the price tag! Does it make any sense?
On how to cut fashion waste, there’s no easy solution. But for sure, we need a more radical approach.