Luxury brand Burberry burned $50 million-worth of clothes, bags and perfumes last year to protect its label.
Over the past five years, the upmarket fashion house has burned more than $150 million in unwanted products to protect is status and curb counterfeits.
Had these products been stolen or found their way into the black market, they could’ve been sold for a lot less than their market value, which could damage the brand’s exclusive status.
— The Life Pile (@thelifepile) July 5, 2018
Critics reacted angrily on social media upon reading the news, which was first reported by The Times, accusing the brand of not wanting their clothes to be worn by poor people.
The British fashion house was quick to answer to these allegations, saying that they were partnering up the Ellen MacArthur foundation’s Make Fashion Circular Initiative, “where we join other leading organisations to work towards a circular fashion economy”.
The practice of burning unsold clothes is not limited to Burberry alone.
— The Life Pile (@thelifepile) July 3, 2018
Last year, unsold H&M products were found burning in a Swedish power plant instead of coal. More than 15 tons of clothes and accessories were incinerated within the first 11 months of 2017.
H&M however stressed that the clothes burned were covered in mould or contaminated with lead, and we not safe to wear.
Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of luxury fashion products get burned or destroyed each year by companies trying to maintain exclusivity. However, many organizations are working on reducing fashion waste.