Stock Waste – Fashion’s Ugly Secret
Destroying stock – not on our watch – Fashion Enter hits back at the industry practice of stock incineration…
Designer brand Burberry recently hit the headlines with the news that the company destroyed more than £28m worth of its fashion and cosmetic products over the past year to guard against counterfeiting. The destruction of perfectly good stock, however, is common practice amongst retailers, particularly those in the luxury sector that don’t want to devalue the brand by offering goods to discount stores and etailers.
A Burberry spokesperson assured the press that: “Burberry has careful processes in place to minimise 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.”
As a British based company involved with the clothing manufacturing process from start to finish the destruction of stock not only represents a waste of fabric but also the hours of work that highly skilled pattern cutters, machinists and finishers have put into each and every garment.
Fashion Enter, sister company to FashionCapital, prides itself on being ethically responsible when it comes to waste management within its North London factory. High standards are maintained by ensuring lay plans are devised to utilise supplied fabrics effectively. Any scrap pieces of fabric are then used by Fashion Enter’s educational department as practice swatches for students. The company also donates fabric to charities, such as ‘Brand Recovery’ that trains vulnerable groups in stitching and making, as well as donating to design companies that re-use and make limited edition items with what’s available.
Another key component to limiting excess stock is keeping those order numbers low. Fashion Enter’s Factory is a prime example of a nimble supply base that responds to consumer demand. If a style is selling well the factory can react and add to an order within a three-week time frame.
Fashion Enter’s CEO Jenny Holloway comments: “The days of mass ordering overseas and being left with piles of stock to discount are gone. I always advise up and coming designers to keep their stock levels low, even working on a made-to-order basis to avoid costly stock waste which impacts their business and ultimately the environment.”
The revelation that Burberry destroys so much of its stock, over £90 million worth of Burberry products have been destroyed over the past five years, according to The Times, has understandably not gone down well with the public who have voiced their opinions widely on social media. But this could be the much needed wake up call the industry needs to change and Fashion Enter would like to be a part if it.