This video from Britain says about itself:
Burberry And Other Brands Burning Stock
19 July 2018
Burberry is amongst some luxury brands that are burning their stock. Millions of pounds of waste being incinerated to retain exclusivity.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
Burberry burns clothes worth millions: ‘The beautiful story is gone’
Those who think of Burberry think of luxury and exclusivity. And the British fashion house wants to keep it that way. So much so that the company has burned tens of millions of euros worth of its own products last year.
Unsold clothes, accessories and perfume valued at 31 million euros went up in flames. And that happens more often: in the past five years, the British fashion house destroyed over 100 million euros worth of products that were ‘left over’. This is stated in the company’s annual report (.pdf).
That cheaper clothing brands burn left over clothes has been known for some time. But that a prestigious fashion house also does this is now confirmed for the first time.
“Still, this is absolutely no breaking news for me”, says Dutch fashion designer Ronald van der Kemp. “Luxury brands want to defend their brand name, and they have done so horribly for decades.”
Burberry destroys unsold products to prevent them from being stolen or sold at lower prices. “Exclusive brands do not go on sale”, says Peter Leferink, senior lecturer at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI). “Burberry wants to uphold an image: if products are left over, they would rather burn them than sell them at a lower price.”
According to Van der Kemp, it is “a dirty secret” of the fashion industry. Burberry is only the first high-end fashion brand of which this is now publicly known.
“If you know that Chanel, Hermès or Louis Vuitton never have sales, then you have to wonder where the products that are not sold go”, he says. “I’ve been working in the high fashion industry for 25 years, slowly discovering how filthy that world is.”
That idea of exclusivity has been completely eroded by the majority of luxury brands, both men think. While fashion houses once launched two collections per year, there are now four. And then there are also the intermediate collections, such as the resort or cruise collections.
Luxury fashion houses focus on producing more in recent years, making more money. Shareholders want to see a larger turnover, even if this means that luxury brands have to produce unnecessary stocks.
“Once upon a time, the idea behind a luxury product was that you invested in craftsmanship and quality, in less waste”, says Peter Leferink. “You made a purchase for life; for example, a Birkin bag by Hermès, France, costs between 10,000 and 20,000 euros, which is a lot of money, but it lasts for generations, and only gets better with the years.”
The value that was linked to such a luxury product in the past hardly exists anymore. “The beautiful story that belonged to such a product – it is no longer there”, says the AMFI senior lecturer and director of the M-ODE Foundation. “But how can that be, if you as a fashion house are willing to burn your own luxury products at the stake?”
This video says about itself:
Burberry burns £28m in clothing avoiding stock being bought by ‘wrong people‘
19 July 2018
Burberry burn £28 million in clothing every year in order to avoid the high-end stock being bought by the ‘wrong people’. The fashion house claim the excess clothes are destroyed to prevent pieces ending up on the ‘grey market’ – where expensive clothing can be sold at discount rates. In the last five years, it’s reported Burberry have burned around £90 million worth of clothing. It’s reported their excess stock getting into the hands of the ‘wrong people‘ or being sold at lower prices could de-value the brand.
The luxury brand is best known for the trench coats, averaging around £1,450 while the cheapest rucksack on offer is nearly £1,000. Despite the burning of millions of pounds worth of clothing, Burberry defended their actions claiming it is an industry-wide practice. High street giant H&M admit to burning surplus stock to help generate enough energy to power the Swedish city of Västerås.
Richemont, owner of upmarket Cartier and Montblanc, has destroyed more than £400 million of watches in two years after buying back unwanted stock from jewelers. Brits binned around £12.5 billion of clothes last year, sending some 300,000 tonnes to landfills.
Burberry was founded in Basingstoke, Hants, by Thomas Burberry in 1856. Thomas envisioned his world-famous coats being worn by recognisable faces, and arranged for Lords Kitchener and Baden-Powell to each own one. Now the fashion giant has seen many famous faces model their clothing, including Romeo Beckham, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Cara Delevingne.
The NOS article continues:
[The waste] was the reason for fashion designer Van der Kemp to set up his own sustainable brand four years ago. He makes couture of residual materials and is a pioneer in the fashion industry. “So much is discarded because the colour is not right or the seam is a little bit wrong, but you can still do so much with it.”
The fact that Burberry chooses to destroy trench coats worth more than 2,000 euros in the store is therefore extra painful. “Why is it not being recycled?” he asks. “Everything can be remade, the problem is that they do not want it.”
For a simple reason: money. “Destruction is simply the cheapest solution”, says Leferink. “But of course it is ridiculously bad for the environment.”
‘Tip of the iceberg’
Leferink and Van der Kemp think that there are more examples of prestigious fashion houses that are guilty of destroying superfluous stocks. “We are scared now, but this is the tip of the iceberg”, says Van der Kemp.
It is difficult to give concrete examples of more luxury brands that are guilty of this … But for Leferink it is clear how ‘beastly bad’ the industry has become.
Destroying unsold clothes is fashion’s dirty secret.
Models, mental health advocates and social media users were left reeling after Burberry sent a model down the runway with a noose around her neck at its London Fashion Week show