Since the 1800s, luxury fashion house Burberry has been known for its iconic trench coats and novacheck plaid print, but these days it appears to be getting a reputation for something else entirely – waste.
This week, the British brand came under fire (no pun intended) for burning £28 million (roughly $36 million) worth of clothing, accessories, and perfume in 2017, in what they claim is an attempt to “protect against illegal counterfeiting.” An estimated £90 million ($117 million) of sellable stock has been torched over the last five years alone, with the brand creating more designer clothing than they can actually sell.
In fact, the value of Burberry’s waste has doubled in just two years, six times the amount in 2013. But why so much waste? Surely those £1,450 ($1,900) trench coats could be put to better use, right?
Burberry claim that their surplus stock is destroyed so items don’t end up on the “grey market,” where they can be picked up illegal counterfeiters. The brand also said that burning excess items is standard in the fashion industry to protect a company’s intellectual property.
Although, insider sources claim Burberry burns their designs to stop them being sold for less and so the “wrong people” (AKA poor people) don’t wear them.
Unsurprisingly, Twitter users are slamming the fashion house for it’s blatant snobbery and lack of concern for the environment.
There are people out there who can barely afford clothes and Burberry burnt £28 million worth of product because of complete snobbery.
Rich people make me want to throw up.
— Shelly?️? (@shelly_tompkins) July 19, 2018
— Maybe a Dude (@Smooglefish) July 19, 2018
— #corporatebae (@ohhsojenuine) July 20, 2018
— Juicebox Johnny (@Johnnys_Burden) July 20, 2018
Mad? Us too. Fortunately, Tara Button, author of ‘A Life Less Throwaway,” has started a campaign in the hopes of making this practice illegal.
In her Change.org petition, she writes: “They [Burberry] would rather see their clothes burned than discounting them where (horror of horrors) poorer people might buy them.
“Many, many brands do this secretly, and I call for this practice to be made illegal. Brands need to find better ways to offload their unsold stock (and become better at keeping overstock to a minimum). ”
Burberry says that it “burns the stock in a responsible way, partnering with specialists who are able to harness the energy from the process.” Still, you think it would be more resourceful to just make fewer products, and Button agrees: “The wastefulness is disgusting.
“Even if the energy from the burning is captured, incinerating bags and clothing for energy is perhaps the most inefficient way to create energy ever invented. The time, materials and energy that goes into making luxury items of clothing are lost forever.
“When there are people all around the world who can’t afford new clothes for themselves and their children it is criminal to be destroying useful goods.
“Please sign the petition #StopBurnerBrands.”
Did you sign? Tell us in the comments!