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Researchers from Amsterdam institutions recommend banning fast fashion advertising

By Caitlyn Terra


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Zara flagship store at Madrid's Plaza de España. Credits: Inditex.

Some remarkable advice from Amsterdam: Behavioural scientists from two institutions, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA), are advising the Dutch government to ban advertisements for fast fashion. The advice comes after the Netherlands' climate minister Rob Jetten was asked to investigate what the added value could be of banning what is referred to as 'fossil advertising' in the country.

In the context of "fossil advertising", the scientists' research focused on advertisements for airline tickets and fast fashion. The latter is defined by the researchers as fashion retail chains that circulate constantly changing collections of clothes that do not last too long, according to the study shared by the Dutch central government.

According to scientists, the so called fossil advertisements would undermine climate policy. Not only because the advertisements encourage purchases with a large carbon footprint, but also because they normalise behaviour that is non-sustainable. "When people mistakenly think that a large majority takes the plane regularly or buys new clothes, it may discourage them from not flying or buying less clothes themselves." However, the researchers also stress that just banning fossil advertising will not be enough. The government also needs to make sustainable behaviour cheaper by making it easier to truly motivate people.

In a letter to the Dutch house of representatives, Climate minister Jetten indicated that there is currently no legal basis for a ban on fossil advertising. It could clash with rights to property and free speech. It also violates EU agreements on free movement of goods and services, according to Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool. A precise and well-defined proposal for the ban must also be in place for it to succeed.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.NL. Translation and edit from Dutch into English: Veerle Versteeg.

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Fashion Education
Fast fashion
University of Amsterdam