Fashion industry trade groups release ‘threads’ for regulators – WWD

Industry trade organizations want to send a signal to Washington.

On Monday, the American Apparel and Footwear Association, the Accessories Council, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the Responsible Business Coalition unveiled Threads’ Sustainability and Social Responsibility Protocol. Together, thousands of fashion brands and organizations are represented by the groups.

Threads is designed to help policy makers develop “practical, achievable and effective regulatory proposals”, in line with its mission statement. Principles include “T” for developed and applied transparently, “H” for harmonization across jurisdictions and industries, “R” for realistic timelines, “E” for executable, “A” for adjustable, “D” for designed for success and “S” for scientific.

News of Threads follows a growing number of regulatory attempts ranging from the ‘Fashion Czar’ to the ‘Fashion Act’ to the ‘Fabric Act’, many of which have been pushed forward without consultation or advice from AAFA or the CFDA, as the organizations claim.

Chelsea Murtha, director of sustainability at AAFA, told WWD that Threads is designed as a “rubric” for policy development and work on it began, in earnest, in March 2022.

“Threads is a forum for discussing legislation. It’s meant to facilitate collaboration and it’s us who put our stakes out there and say, “It’s the things we care about or that’s how we’re going to evaluate the policy.” The [Threads] the principles flow from our policy conversations where we had concerns — and basically those are the concerns we identified,” she said. “This is meant to both provide a clear signal to our members and set the stage for discussion within our members about how we respond to certain pieces of legislation, but I hope it also gives stakeholders a clear sense of why pieces of specific laws that we don’t follow. think about work.

There are a number of laws that the organization opposes. In 2022, AAFA invested over $725,000 to lobby against laws such as the Fabric Act, the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act, the Safe Shops Act of 2021, and the informed consumers, among others, by OpenSecrets, a DC-based nonprofit organization.

A broader timeline for Threads’ engagement with regulators was not stated, but key issues such as PFAs are being monitored by AAFA.

Many academics are also attentive and concerned about the state of sustainability in fashion. While Michelle Gabriel, director of career services and director of the Strategic Partnerships for Sustainable Fashion graduate program at Glasgow Caledonian New York College, agreed with the “applicable” and “scientific” components of Threads, she criticized the rest.

Gabriel claimed Threads is a “performative” gesture intended to “muddy the already chaotic waters of the fashion legislative conversation.” “It is intended to signal to industry and the general public that they support environmental and social legislation that is arguably urgent and necessary, but only if it falls within these seemingly reasonable guidelines, while behind the scenes actively [do] the destructive work of using their considerable funds for lobbying efforts against the legislation.

While she sees political hurdles as not unique to fashion, she questions the “credibility,” in her own words, of trade groups amid deepening regulatory discussions.

“The bills circulating today in the European Union and the United States aim to change the behavior of systems. The fashion system hurts people and destroys the planet,” Gabriel argued. that I think every bill will achieve this lofty goal?No, but I think many are necessary and integral first steps towards a more dynamic and multi-faceted regulatory ecosystem – yes.

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