Sweden Opposes Textile Destruction Ban, Angelina Jolie Launches Upcycled Fashion Brand

It’s been a big week for sustainable fashion. The European Union proposes a ban on the destruction of unsold clothing and Angelina Jolie announces the launch of her new upcycled fashion house, Atelier Jolie. The actress, director, and ambassador states: 

I am building a place for creative people to collaborate with a skilled and diverse family of expert tailors, pattern makers and artisans from around the world. A place to have fun. To create your own designs with freedom. To discover yourself. We will use only leftover, quality vintage material and deadstock. You will be able to repair or upcycle pieces from your closet you wish to revive, perfecting fit, breathing new life into what could have been thrown away, and creating quality heirloom garments with personal meaning.

The fashion house will also employ refugees as the expert tailors. It’s exciting to see such a big sustainable fashion project that really has all aspects of both social and environmental sustainability at its core. To see big moves bringing awareness to the negative impacts the fashion industry has on our people & planet is powerful.

The EU’s proposal would effectively ban the destruction of unsold clothing in an effect to curb textile waste. According to estimates from the European Commission, about 6 million tonnes of textiles are thrown by EU people each year, yet only a quarter of them are recycled (Apparel Resources)

Companies often destroy unsold stock as it’s cheaper than finding something else to do with it. Many designer brands will burn their stock to stop it from showing up on the black market. And remember when H&M was found to be burning 12 tonnes of clothing every year? This is a very disturbing aspect of the fashion industry. To waste the earth’s resources on creating an item only to later have it burned to release more harmful chemicals into the atmosphere just doesn’t make any sense. 

Current regulations in the EU force retailers to report how much unsold merchandise they have, however, there are no regulations against its destruction. The new proposal would ban it. Several countries are backing the back such as France, Germany and the Netherlands. Regrettably, Sweden is the country trying to get the ban removed. For a country that supposedly prides itself on being one of the most sustainable in the world, it’s despicable that it would vote against the regulations. H&M states that they do not burn functional clothes, however in 2019 they reported $4 billion worth of unsold clothes. It was also in 2019 when the Norwegian Consumer Protection Authority first launched an investigation into H&M for greenwashing using the Higg Index

H&M’s head of sustainability, Leyla Eytur states “We have been engaged in climate mitigation for years and continuously push ourselves to demonstrate climate leadership within our industry.” Sorry guys, but the bill is just not adding up. One can only wonder if the fast-fashion conglomerate is so engaged in sustainability, why is Sweden not interested in supporting this ban?

The launch of Atelier Jolie this week was almost kismet as Sweden makes headlines for their opposition. But the proof is in the pudding. Those with environmental awareness and care will once again be forced to clean up the mess for those who value profit over anything. And the war for sustainable fashion persists. 


I am really looking forward to seeing how Atelier Jolie turns out. I full-heartedly agree with Angelina that there is nothing more fulfilling than creating your own clothes, your own image. To give your garments that extra personal touch that cannot be replicated- now that is truly what it means to have style. 

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