Waste is one of the biggest problems facing the fashion industry – as demonstrated by the recent news that <a href=”https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44885983″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Burberry burned over £26 million of leftover stock</a> in 2017. The brand’s decision to set light to thousands of bags, shoes and clothes prompted a furious response on social media – but it isn’t unusual. In fact, it’s common practice.
Luxury fashion brands are built on exclusivity – on making products that are available to a select few. They could donate leftover items to a good cause or sell them off cheaply, but this would undermine the value of their goods and their brand’s credibility. So if you’re a brand like Burberry, torching a product can seem preferable to giving it away.
The obvious solution to this problem is to make less. But fashion brands – and luxury fashion houses in particular – rely on complex supply chains. Manufacturing is outsourced to countries where labour and production is cheap and making things in large volumes makes this cheaper still. Fashion is also playing a guessing game: when it comes to ordering stock, brands have to predict what will be popular in 12 months time. As that’s impossible to do, they tend to over order – which means lots of shoes and bags left sitting in warehouses.
<img class=”wp-image-112140 size-full” src=”https://s3-eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/centaur-wp/creativereview/prod/content/uploads/2018/08/OpeningCeremony2.jpg” alt=”” width=”2000″ height=”1333″ /> Above and lead image (top): Unmade’s collaboration with Farfetch and Opening Ceremony
Join our community
This article is available only to subscribers. You can join here.
CR's premium content is available only to subscribers. Join today for the sharpest opinion, analysis and advice on life in the creative industries.
+44 (0)2072923703 or email@example.com