The fashion industries dirty little secrets.
The headline is ominous, and the facts are disturbing.
Fashion brands have been turning their back on the environment for years. Growing revenue from mere millions to billions. Using everything from social media to FOMO to get customers purchasing. There are plenty of secrets that they don't want the average consumer in on. Trade secrets that have helped them grow immensely. Churning out more and more product every season.
Luxury brands like Burberry, Gucci, Prada and Chanel to name a few, are globally known for quality, style and statement. Quality is a great asset that keeps their clothes lasting longer and combats the issue of waste in the industry. Beyond quality, high-end brands offer a brand name that makes the resale value of their garments greater than those of smaller brands that imitate their looks. Sparing clothes from entering landfills as they swap hands from resale purchases.
The world of luxury fashion has its positives, but, spoiler alert, it has some very serious negatives. Primarily when product doesn't sell.
In 2018 several elite brands were outed for burning product that they were unable to sell in season. A dirty little secret that was on the down low for many years. For some brands, this dirty little secret is a bragging right. Suggesting that their brand is so prestigious and sought after that they will never allow their product to end up in the hands of an inferior demographic that doesn't boast a sizeable disposable income.
Burberry came under fire in 2018 when they were exposed for burning $37.8 million worth of product. A hard pill to swallow when we consider the amount of water, production time, and valuable energy resources that went into making all those garments.
When Richemonts earning reports came out in 2018, it revealed the destruction of millions of dollars in Cartier, Piaget and other watches made by the parent company. Watches contain Cobalt. An alloy that children in Africa are recruited as "head-porters" to move out of the mines. All their hard work destroyed to preserve the watch brands integrity.
Being in the industry of fashion consumption, we at Guru know there are better ways! Maybe responsibly producing product so that their product surplus doesn't need to be destroyed? If the fear is that anybody off the street can afford their fashions, then maybe they need to be in the business of custom ordering, or offer a better method of pre-ordering.
Feeling duped yet? If not then let's dive into another dirty little secret.
Care label directions are always hard to understand. I'm still unsure to this day why manufacturers have to use those convoluted cryptic symbols to convey washing instructions. What the average person does not know is that many brands often right "dry clean only" even though many of the clothes they make can easily be washed in a laundry machine under the right cycle. They do this to prevent issues of returns if items come back damaged from a washing machine, or shrunken from a dryer. Returns are fewer and far between. Dry cleaning every item they make in their collections, from naturals to synthetics, is completely unnecessary.
The onus needs to be on brands to educate their customers on how to wash their clothes and take care of them for years to come. See our suggestions below.
1) Wash your clothes before wearing them (wash away a layer of chemicals)
2) Don't wash your clothes after every wear if it is not necessary. Washing your clothes too often uses a lot of water and rapidly breaks down the fibers.
3) Use wash bags for items that are delicate to avoid snagging and pulling, keeping them looking new longer.
4) Separate your whites from your colors so your whites last longer. This will also avoid the use of bleach in the future.
5) Don't put spandex in the dryer. The heat will melt the spandex and it will lead to holes, and eventually landfills.
6) Use spot stain removal brands like Shout or Oxy to remove stubborn stains. If you are giving your clothes away because they have a stain, then chances are somebody else won't want them.
Something has to give. We can not continue to emit more damaging gases into our air because a better solution can't be found. We can only hope the directors at the round tables implement better solutions.