Fashion has become an important part of culture all over the world and the fashion industry has increasingly expanded over the last decade. Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga are known for providing amazing, limited, and quality pieces for people of higher income. Although to some people these brands have products that are highly priced, to keep their luxury image, they must maintain their price range. Although these brands create amazing products, around 30% of their products go unsold every year.
Why Do Luxury Brands Burn Products?
Destroying products is a way that a brand can maintain exclusivity through scarcity. sales or lowering prices can be detrimental to the consumer’s perception of the brand and erode the value of the brand that the company has spent years building. Simply throwing these items away may lead to people discovering these items and reselling them for a much lower price, which is referred to as the "Grey Market." To eliminate this problem, companies burn all unsold items instead. Burberry reportedly burned unsold stock worth millions of dollars. In its yearly report, the brand acknowledged that it had destroyed around 37 million dollars worth of unsold goods.
Luxury brands also have a financial incentive to burn unsold products. For example, brands have to pay taxes and charges to import their items into the United States But if the goods are unsold, and the brand exports them again or destroys them under US customs supervision and by doing that, they are able to recover up to 99% of the taxes and other expenses they paid in the process. This is completely legal and can be finically beneficial.
What Does Burning Products Do To The Environmental?
Burning clothes can have negative impacts on the environment for several reasons:
- Firstly, burning clothes releases harmful pollutants into the air such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. These pollutants can contribute to air pollution, which can adversely affect human health and the environment.
- Secondly, many clothes are made from synthetic fibers, such as polyester and nylon, which do not biodegrade easily. When burned, these materials can release toxic chemicals into the environment, such as dioxins and furans, which can have long-term environmental impacts.
- Additionally, burning clothes contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, which can contribute to climate change. The production of clothes also involves the use of energy and resources, such as water and chemicals, so burning them can be seen as a waste of those resources. Therefore, it is generally not recommended to burn clothes as a means of disposal. Instead, clothes can be donated, recycled, or repurposed to reduce waste and minimize negative impacts on the environment.
Peterson, Hayley. "Why Fashion Brands Burn Their Unsold Clothes, and Why It's a Problem." Vox, 17 September 2018, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/9/17/17852294/fashion-brands-burning-merchandise-burberry-nike-h-and-m.