Fashion Lines Would Rather Burn Unsold Clothes Than Let Regular People Wear Them

Brands like Burberry burn millions of dollars worth of clothes every year to “protect their brand.”

While the majority of the world is focusing on ways to cut back on the consumption of natural resources, reducing waste, and upcycling, the fashion industry is busy burning last year’s unsold clothes as a way to “protect the brand.” Not a good look considering the brands are already struggling to remain relevant and influential when millennials are busy looking for classic pieces to build capsule wardrobes by shopping online.

The industry as a whole is having a tough time, and it certainly doesn’t help matters when word gets around that Burberry burned over $30 million worth of clothing last year because it wanted to keep it’s trademarked plaid as a symbol of exclusivity. And Burberry isn’t the only one burning away last season’s leftovers, mall darling H&M has burned enough clothing items to power a Swedish city, literally.


The world is ever pushing toward inclusivity and equality, and many companies in the fashion industry have jumped on board. Nike is making a line of modest athletic clothing to embrace their Islamic customers, Tommy Hilfiger has launched a line of clothing especially for people with physical disabilities, and many brands are ramping up the plus size options for both men and women.

Dr. Kirsten Brodde from the Detox my Fashion Campaign gets to the heart of the problem, “From luxury to discount, current fashion production is focused on economic growth, churning out unsustainable quantities of clothes. This inevitably leads to growing mountains of fashion waste.”

Luckily, the fashion industry is all about reinvention, so brands like Burberry, need to get busy reinventing themselves as responsible companies that curb their excess. Otherwise, they may find their fashion lines permanently out of season.

Read more about the burning of perfectly good clothing, “Burberry burning £28m of stock to 'protect its brand' could have the opposite effect written by Reuben Turner and posted by The Drum on July 19, 2018