Over the past few decades, the production and consumption of clothing has increased exponentially, leading to a dramatic increase in the negative environmental consequences produced by the fashion industry. Given the rising pace of global warming and the rising concern about the fashion industry’s contribution to the climate crisis and its exploitative social dimensions, decision makers, politicians and government officials have begun to promote sustainable fashion through public policy. This article reviews the main barriers facing a circular economy in general and the fashion industry in particular. It considers nascent regulations emerging throughout the world in the field of sustainable fashion, applying circular economic principles to the fashion industry. Four categories of policy proposals are evaluated: Command and Control Interventions, Educational Initiatives, Incentives and Certification, grading them according to criteria of effectiveness, sustainability, feasibility, equity and compliance. The ranking process was based on an elicitation of expert judgement among a panel with expertise in the areas of sustainable fashion from the business sector, academia and civil society. Findings suggest that while some policy options appear to meet all criteria successfully, when selecting an optimal strategy for promoting sustainable fashion, there are frequently trade-offs between different alternatives.
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