The Alarming Practice of Destroying Unsold Fashion Goods

From Fashion Revolution Fanzine - Loved Clothes Last
Fashion Revolution #002 Fanzine Loved Clothes Last

Recently, I was enlightened, or rather shocked to find out that unsold luxury and high-end designer goods, and even less expensive goods are burned, or destroyed and tossed into landfills. Chanel and Louis Vuitton are two of many companies cited as burning unsold merchandise. I must admit I hadn’t put thought to what happens to unsold products. After being made aware of this shocking fact, I did a little research of my own.

This thoughtful quote “Waste is a Design Flaw”, found in Fashion Revolution’s #002 Fanzine Loved Clothes Last is so apropos. The fashion industry is now considered the 5th most polluting in the world. In another startling US statistic, 26 billion pounds of clothing ends up in landfills every year, by consumers and corporations.

The reasons given for the destruction of goods by high-end clothing companies is they would rather destroy unsold merchandise than attempt to donate. Why? They don’t want their goods ending up in a discount bin or on the backs of the homeless for fear of tarnishing their image. Consumer purchases in thrift stores undercuts business; why pay full price when you can buy it cheaper. So instead of donating, companies practice burning or tossing unsold merchandise into landfills. I find this shocking, appalling and incredibly “stupid”. You can guess the effects on the environment from burning synthetic products, and all the other problems created by the fashion industry as a result of such ignorance.

There are certainly options of dealing with waste, and it begins with the design process. And as a consumer we to must become part of the solution. Please check out Fashion Revolution FanzineLoved Clothes Last for their take on this topic.

Other Resources: The Guardian; The Outline