Hastings Environmental Law Journal


Olivia Suraci


The fashion industry, a worldwide fascination, has long been associated with glamour, trends, and innovation. Although the visuals associated with climate change often paint a picture of a world being destroyed by fossil fuels and Big Oil, this article will seek to examine the climate change responsibilities of one of the other most polluting industries in the world. Access to online shopping and “fast fashion,” as well as industry marketing and obsolescence techniques, have increased the consumer demand for clothing, shoes, and accessories. As a society, we are purchasing more fashion items than ever before. Noting this growth, major bodies like the United Nations have identified the need to shift away from industry practices that are detrimental to the environment. Despite this acknowledgement, there has been relatively little by way of increased regulations specific to the fashion industry to encourage a change in standard practices. The fashion industry, which manufactures, ships, and sells at every price point, should be held accountable on a global scale both by the consumer and the law, through supply chain accountability, product life-cycle responsibility, prohibition of unsustainable materials and processes, and voluntary sustainability incentives.