On Friday, a new bill was introduced in the New York State Legislature which would significantly impact the fashion industry if passed. State Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblywoman Anna R. Kelles unveiled Assembly Bill A8352, the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act, which would require all major fashion retailers to “to disclose environmental and social due diligence policies.” Specifically, it would require all brands to use “good faith efforts” to map 50% of the supply chain “across all tiers of production, from raw material to final production.” The law would affect large brands that account for over $100 million in revenue (meaning fast fashion brands like H&M to luxury like Louis Vuitton). If they violate the law, the company could be fined up to 2% of revenue.
It’s a huge move; and one that could be a tangible step forward for making fashion more ethical and sustainable. Violence, wage theft, and safety issues in factories are pervasive because brands have no legal accountability to their manufacturers. With this new bill, these brands would have to ensure standards are upheld where clothing is produced and where the materials are farmed.
According to The New York Times, the state legislature will likely bring the bill to a vote after budget negotiations in late Spring. In an email, Senator Biaggi told the outlet that they have plenty of support and are hopeful it will become the law.
As of now, there is no response from brands, but we’ll likely see some pushback. Specifically, for luxury brands, the argument against full transparency often comes down to proprietary design information issues. On the fast fashion side, brands usually blame subcontractors for bad behavior in the supply chain. If A8352 becomes law, we may finally see an end to these excuses and start to finally see change.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.