Burberry Burns US$36.5 Million Worth Of Goods To ‘Protect’ Its Brand, Backfires
Image via andersphoto / Shutterstock.com
Not too long ago, the fashion industry had immense power over the mass market, and decided on how they should look or act. Consumers aren’t so willing to conform to these ideals anymore; if they’re made to squeeze into a cookie-cutter, chances are, they’ll boycott the brand for something more inclusive.
Further, people are increasingly concerned about sustainability. As more and more images of clogged oceans surface, many consumers want to be assured that the products they own and buy come from honest sources.
Burberry seems to be going against the current, however—and it’s clearly not sitting well. Per The Times, the fashion house reportedly burned over £28 million (US$36.5 million) of clothing and cosmetics in the past year alone.
Insiders revealed that the British label destroyed its products to “protect its brand,” such that its clothes wouldn’t end up being worn by the “wrong people,” and that its stock would not be resold at discounted prices.
Ironically, the move is potentially hurting Burberry’s brand even more. Not only is it excluding customers, but many also feel it’s a total waste for wholly new products to be discarded, when they could have gone to better causes.
“There’s something inherently wrong about torching a stack of gear, particularly when undertaken by the fashion line itself,” lamented independent journalist James Reinl.
“Why couldn’t they just donate [the products] to the poor?” tweeted user ‘Guardian_Elite’.
Others pointed out that while Burberry isn’t alone on this strategy and that the burning of goods is “a very common practice” in the fashion industry, there could be more responsible ways to dealing with leftover products. Check out some thought-provoking responses from Twitter below.
I had no idea this happened and it seems stunningly wasteful. @Burberry burned millions of dollars of clothes it didn’t sell to "minimise the amount of excess stock we produce.”https://t.co/HiRhTjXhGv
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) July 19, 2018
There's something inherently wrong about torching a stack of #Burberry gear, particularly when undertaken by the fashion line itself. https://t.co/6RqofKA3oa
— James Reinl (@jamesreinl) July 19, 2018
I hate waste. Those items could have clothed so many that have nothing to wear or given to charities and burberry could have written it off their taxes. So many better solutions.
— Denise Barker (@Calgonaway) July 19, 2018
Wow!! Why couldn't they just donate it to the poor?🤔#ThisWorldWeLiveIn
— SaltLifeBarbie🇧🇸 (@WetMoneyBarbie1) July 19, 2018
£28.6m worth of clothes destroyed by Burberry, including jumpers and coats.
In the year we had the coldest winter on record and an ever-growing homelessness crisis – surely giving the clothes to charities or shelter would have crossed someone's mind?
— Dominic McGregor (@DominicMcGregor) July 19, 2018
I get that they don't want to donate designer clothing outright, but they certainly could have donated the clothes to charity silent auctions for worthwhile causes. Still would have gotten them in the hands of their target audience.
— Lisa B. (@politeracy) July 19, 2018
Understandable in a business sense; a way to keep the brand exclusive.
They should consider altering the identity of the goods so they can be donated w/o affecting exclusivity.
— @mrs.sseezi (@monasseezi) July 19, 2018
Perhaps they should hire someone with experience to determine the optimum amount of inventory to produce each year—rather than engage in such wasteful practices!
— Jhansi ki Rani (@KeepMeLearning) July 19, 2018
This has gone on forever and many companies do it so that the brand can keep it’s identity. While I understand that reasoning, it bothers me that there they haven’t figured out a way to repurpose the material. How is this the responsible option?
— ↠• ṂØṄIℂẠ •↞ (@monderlust) July 20, 2018[via The Drum, cover image via andersphoto / Shutterstock.com]