In a year that has seen many big fashion brands embrace a more environmentalist and ethical style, with the use of synthetic furs instead of the real ones, here is a historical brand that makes itself talked about for a choice that is not entirely eco-sustainable.
A few days ago, in fact, came out the news that stars one of the historic British brands, founded by Thomas Burberry in 1856, Burberry that has decided to burn its unsold items worth about £ 28m. This is certainly not a new practice for the brand, which has destroyed around £ 90m of products in the last five years. Behind a "not very understandable" choice for many, actually, there are values well known in the world of luxury, which are: the protection of intellectual assets, the uniqueness and the value of scarcity. In order to understand what leads to choose a certain path, it is necessary to understand how the world of luxury works: in fact, this universe differs from fast fashion on two fundamental values: uniqueness and scarcity. In fact, garments in non-sold stocks would end up in outlets or in parallel markets and this would lead to a reduction in prices, which would have made clothing accessible to a wider public, thus lowering brand awareness.
Lately the spotlight is focused only on Burberry and this process of disposal of excess products, but we must remember that the British brand is not the only big brand that uses this system for its protection. Riechemont, the holding company behind the Cartier and Montblanc brands, uses the same procedure for its unsold watches. If it is true that it is easy to point the finger at a large international company, it is also true that this is ready to reply to any accusation.
Promptly the insiders of the company have explained the reasons behind that practice and clarified above all how the unsold items are disposed of, underlining a conscious ethical choice that involves the use of particular incinerators that would not cause damage to the environment . Moreover, in order to cope with what has been called "not so ethical" label, the British company spread news of a reduction in the excessive production of goods and a reduction in product prices, especially regarding the Asian market, which is the biggest market for the label at the moment.
Whether we reduce or not the prices or the production, we have always to remember that with regard to the world of luxury goods the word "ethics" is often just a popular word.
by Rosalba Dimonte