When I started my entrepreneurial journey, honesty was the most important value that I wanted to incorporate into my business. Finding durable materials, source and develop as close to home as possible, and make sure we have an honestly priced, timeless collection that doesn’t need to end up in sale racks at the end of the season. All naturally made choices as a result of this core value.
I know it’s probably easier for young labels to strive for strict moral principles but it sometimes saddens me to see luxury brands losing their innocence. Fashion brands are always the first to make it a big thing when they are taking steps to making their products more durable. And it’s great that more and more fashion brands are working on sustainability. But last week a large luxury brand hit the headlines in a negative way.
“Burberry burns bags, clothes, and perfume worth millions” - BBC News
It’s not a surprise to many that the fast fashion industry produces a huge amount of clothes and accessories that end up unsold. But now everyone is going crazy about Burberry, including me. This luxury label burned €31 million in luxury perfumes, accessories and clothing last year. Sadly, after doing a bit of research, I found out they are not the only (high-end) brand burning their overstock.
Luxury labels want to maintain their exclusivity, but at what cost? Their artificial sense of scarcity and excessive pricing go hand in hand with this costly ‘malpractice’. Our planet and many people on it are suffering. Instead of coming up with a solution to help minorities or give the materials a second life, fashion brands add to the decay of the environment by setting their leftovers on fire. Which surprisingly contradicts their efforts of becoming a more sustainable brand.
Burberry also made a statement they are always looking for the best way to burn the stock responsibly. But let’s be honest, does destroying luxury handbags and clothes for no good reason (other than making sure it doesn’t end up in the sale racks) sound responsible to you? If you have a target consumer and you’re afraid your products will decrease in value, why not produce less while looking for exclusivity?
On the other hand, what about the huge amount of unneeded clothes we buy ourselves that end up in landfills? It’s a 2-way struggle and the fashion industry has to come clean on both provider and consumers end.
We are the change
Luckily, this sad news also has a massive positive side to it. From the moment this news was brought to light, people are standing up saying a change is needed. Coming up with ideas, even gifting their Burberry clothes to charity as a way of telling them “this is not okay”. And I couldn’t be happier to be part of this group. The more information is shared about the way fashion is made, the more knowledge we have to make our own decisions.
Together we can be the change. Together we have a voice in proving a difference can be made in this crazy world of fashion and I hope you will be a part of it as well!
Slow down, choose quality over quantity and know what you buy. Less is always better :)