A Fashion Forward Solution to Mend and Reuse Clothes

France buckles down on new fashion purchases.

Shoemaker at work.

(Toranico / Shutterstock.com)

Everyone has a favorite piece of clothing, textile, or pair of shoes. And when it tears or a seam unravels, it may sadly get tossed out. In France, a nation known for its haute couture, the government is being fashion forward, presenting a solution that entices consumers to mend their clothes.

Beginning in October, 2023, tailors and shoe repair shops will offer people money back on items that have been mended, according to CNN. The ministry of ecology is having the eco-organization Refashion look after this program. 

As the textile industry represents eight percent of global emissions and the clothing sector is one of the most polluting, according to the Refashion website, this is welcome news. In fact, in 2021 in France, linen, shoes, and clothing amounted to 2.8 billion pieces, which works out to 10.5 kilograms of textiles and shoes a year per person.

Encouraging people to recycle clothing
To encourage everyone to participate, the initiative is easy; for a small “eco contribution”, tailors, clothing brands, and cobblers join and after they repair an item, clients receive a discount. The shops are then refunded by Refashion within 15 working days. 

According to CNN, Secretary of state for ecology Bérangère Couillard explained at a news conference, “It could encourage exactly the people who have bought, for example, shoes from a brand that makes good-quality shoes or likewise good-quality ready-to-wear to want to have them fixed instead of getting rid of them.” 

Creating new jobs
The ministry of ecology also hopes to create new jobs and anticipates there will soon be a higher demand for repair services, reported The Guardian.

 This is the next step in a plan to increase consumer awareness about the textile industry and reduce the amount of clothing waste. Since last year, every item from French textile and clothing stores now has a label detailing the materials used and the country of origin.

 As France is rolling up its sleeves to educate the population about reusing clothing, large retailers in Britain, Belgium, and Australia are encouraging consumers to have their items mended as well as resell returned garments, according to Euronews.

The hope is that other countries will follow this lead so that more consumers learn how to buckle down on their new clothing purchases. This could result in fewer emissions, a reduction in pollution, and less waste. It also means that you can enjoy your favorite piece of clothing for longer, enabling it to have that “second life”.

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