LONDON – As the debate about Burberry’s decision to destroy £28m worth of stock rumbles on, Fashion Revolution’s founder and creative director, Orsola de Castro, has called for a change in shopping habits and a shift away from the mass production model. De Castro acknowledged that the practice of destroying stock is quite widespread, sentiments which back our own research on this issue which suggest an alarming mismatch between clothing production and clothing sold.
Orsola de Castro said: “The practice of destroying stock is actually quite widespread throughout the industry. It’s a direct consequence of mass production, and many other luxury brands and high street brands are doing this too.
“We produce a staggering 100 to 150 billion items of clothing each year and as a direct result, we’re seeing huge amounts of surplus throughout the fashion supply chain. We need to tackle this problem at source; we need greater transparency throughout the fashion supply chain.
“Lack of transparency in the fashion value chain prevents us from seeing exactly how much waste and surplus is created, where this waste and surplus is produced and how it is disposed of and the impact it has on the environment.”
De Castro also addressed the issue of recycling, suggesting that while there is talk of circularity and closed loop, “we are nowhere near real and effective upscalable solutions yet.”
She added: “More energy should be spent on creative interim solutions such as upcycling and a cultural shift from mass production and mass consumption to a more moderate production leading to mindful consumption, better care and a less throwaway approach from brands and consumers alike.
“People buying from retailers need to have a different conversation with brands. Improving the way we buy, care and dispose of our clothes is everyone’s responsibility, and it requires a change in our own personal shopping habits.”
We would go along with all of this, however, the issue is – and remains – the dominant shareholder-based fast fashion business model which is inherently dependent on excessive production, and continually increased profits to drive higher dividends. There is no incentive for the major fast fashion brands to slow down any time soon, and in many cases it would be commercial suicide to move to slower fashion.