Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wants to outlaw fashion's predatory labor practices on a federal level.

On May 12, the politician will introduce the first federal fashion bill, the Fashioning Accountability and Building Real Institutional Change (FABRIC) Act, to Senate.

While states including California and New York have made moves to hold fashion brands accountable for their labor practices, the FABRIC Act would establish equitable standards for garment workers nationwide.

First reported on by Vogue, the FABRIC Act would extend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and penalize brands that pay their factory workers less than the federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour). If adopted, the Act would also require all 50 states to comply with parts of California's SB62, a garment worker protection bill passed in 2021.

The FABRIC Act would incentivize brands to operate responsibly. A 30 percent reshoring tax credit would go to companies that relocate their manufacturing to the United States (out of 40 million worldwide garment workers, just 93,800 are in the U.S.), and $40 million in grants would be distributed to brands looking to improve their production facilities for workers.

For Gillibrand, the FABRIC Act doesn't just champion worker's rights — it's also a move to support women, who comprise 80 percent of the garment workforce.

The news comes four months after New York State proposed the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act, which would require "any apparel and footwear retailer with global revenue of at least $100 million selling its products in New York" to map at least 50 percent of its supply chain, among other measures.

Like the FABRIC Act, New York's Fashion Act has yet to be written into law — and both have the potential to radically change the fashion industry, a notoriously exploitative business. Stay tuned.

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