“The received wisdom is that many labels would rather burn past- season items than risk damaging their brand by selling them at a reduced, but very few admit this” Assistant editor of guardian fashion, Morwenna Ferrier.
£28.6 million of its own stock burnt?! Are they the only ones guilty?! I’m looking into the unethical nature of the waste and the effect on the environment.
Last year, Burberry burnt unsold clothes and other goods that had failed to sell, essentially to protect its brand value. The luxury fashion house didn’t want their goods to be sold cheaply on the ‘grey market’ which would have affected their prestige in the industry. In the last five years burberry are said to have disposed of £90 million in goods, with brands like Nike and H&M accused of similar conduct.
I understand the action from the perspective of wanting to ensure their premium brand image stays in tact as they worked hard to become a luxury fashion house and this does put them on a pedestal. However, there are people in this world who don't have the means of being able to afford food let alone clothes so I want to know where their heart as brand has gone. I know for sure I’d rather have a brand whose values stood for producing amazing garments and giving back, than one known for discarding perfectly good items so not to dent my image in a world where people are in need.
The environmental problem with actions like this, lies in the fact that fashion is one of the most wasteful industries in the world. It is the fourth largest sector in terms of detrimental impact on the environment. With the rise of ‘fast fashion’ there has been a rise in clothing waste - cheaper, not as well-made clothing is less likely to stay durable so will be thrown away. The best thing I think we can do as consumers to ensure we aren't hindering the environment is basically buy less new stuff and keep our clothes for longer.