Would you light your beloved $1,990 Burberry trench coat on fire? Probably not, but apparently, the brand is doing just that.
According to the Times, the luxury English fashion label literally burned over $37 million worth of goods in a year, which basically translates to more than 20,000 of those oh-so-beloved coats we just mentioned. Over the past five years, the company has reportedly destroyed roughly $116 million in product, which includes clothing, accessories, and fragrance, a move that shareholders of the company are unhappy with.
So why would they do this? Basically, brands like Burberry get rid of these unwanted items to prevent them from getting stolen or sold at a majorly discounted price. According to the Times, luxury labels want to make sure their products don’t get into the hands of the “wrong people” after popping up in “grey markets.” We’ll let you interpret that one.
As the BBC reports, Burberry has commented on the wasteful nature of the process, stating that they’re making sure their practice doesn’t essentially ruin the environment. “Burberry has careful processes in place to minimize the amount of excess stock we produce. On the occasions when disposal of products is necessary, we do so in a responsible manner and we continue to seek ways to reduce and revalue our waste,” a Burberry spokesperson reportedly said.
They expressed a similar sentiment in a statement to Newsweek: “On the occasions when disposal of products is necessary, we do so in a responsible manner, and we continue to seek ways to reduce and revalue our waste,” Burberry said in a statement.”
Of course, environmentalists are not pleased with what’s going on.
“Despite their high prices, Burberry shows no respect for their own products and the hard work and natural resources that are used to made them,” Lu Yen Roloff, a representative for Greenpeace, an environmental organization, told the BBC. “The growing amount of overstock points to overproduction, and instead of slowing down their production, they incinerate perfectly good clothes and products.”
Now, people on Twitter are calling out the brand.
But Burberry isn’t the only luxury label doing so. As the Times reports, a small city called Vasteras in Sweden is powered by the unsold goods of H&M. The fast fashion retailer that sends their unwanted products to an electricity generating station to burn. And Richemont, a luxury watch and jewelry maker for brands like Cartier, has reportedly gotten rid of over $557 million worth of goods to prevent them for going for sale at a cheaper price. Speaking with the BBC, Roloff added, “It’s a dirty secret of the fashion industry. Burberry is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Thankfully, the secret is no longer safe.