Burberry ends bonfire of the luxuries after waste outcry

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British luxury fashion group Burberry has stopped burning unsold products and will no longer use real fur and angora in its clothes, chief executive Marco Gobbetti revealed on September 6, 2018. (AFP)
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In this file photo taken on February 20, 2017 models present creations from the Burberry collection during a catwalk show on the fourth day of the Autumn/Winter 2017 London Fashion Week in London. (AFP)
Updated 06 September 2018
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Burberry ends bonfire of the luxuries after waste outcry

  • “Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible,” said CEO Marco Gobbetti
  • Many retailers have been called out in recent years for destroying unsold stock, including by slashing or punching holes in garments before throwing them out

LONDON: Britain’s Burberry will no longer burn unsold luxury goods to protect its brand after an admission that it destroyed almost $40 million worth of stock last year sparked a furor over waste in the fashion industry.
Burberry also said on Thursday it would no longer use real fur such as mink and racoon, in another step to improving its social and environmental credentials which was immediately welcomed by animal rights campaigners.
The waste revelation in July from Burberry came only months after the owner of Cartier and Montblanc admitted to destroying some of their unsold watches and coincides with growing public awareness of waste and its environmental impact.
“Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible,” said CEO Marco Gobbetti, who is in the process of taking Burberry, where coats sell for more than 2,500 pounds ($3,234) and handbags are priced at up to 1,500 pounds, more upmarket.
Many retailers have been called out in recent years for destroying unsold stock, including by slashing or punching holes in garments before throwing them out.
Richemont, owner of luxury watch brands, said it bought back unsold stock from dealers during a recent downturn and recycled the precious metals and stones that were in the high-end pieces.
Burberry physically destroyed 28.6 million pounds worth of finished goods in the financial year to April, up from 26.9 million pounds the previous year, including 10 million pounds worth of beauty products such as perfume.
The products are generally those that did not sell via discount outlets and are more than five years old. Burberry said it would try to reuse, repair, donate or recycle its products while a strategy to make fewer, more targeted collections should help reduce excess stock.
It is also working with the sustainable luxury company Elvis & Kresse to transform 120 tons of leather offcuts into new products over the next five years.

GROWING AWARENESS
Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca said Burberry’s announcement could put pressure on other luxury names to be more transparent about how they handle unsold goods.
“Concerns about sustainability are slowly but surely becoming more relevant for luxury goods consumers,” he said.
Some luxury groups also offer sales to employees and journalists to limit the amount of unsold stock. Both Kering , owner of Gucci and Alexander McQueen, and LVMH , owner of Louis Vuitton, Celine, Christian Dior and Givenchy, declined to comment.
In the mass market, major brands have also struggled to shift stock in a fast changing environment.
H&M, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer after Inditex, has said in the past it burns stock, but only when it is damaged or, for example, has high levels of chemicals in it. At the end of May the Swedish group had $4 billon of unsold stock that it said it hoped to sell.
“Under no circumstances do we destroy clothes that are safe to use,” a spokeswoman said.
Burberry is following the likes of Versace, Gucci and the trailblazer for ethical fashion, Stella McCartney, in removing real fur from its ranges.
The moves are part of a series of changes at Burberry where Gobbetti is pinning his hopes on new designer Riccardo Tisci to transform the quintessentially British fashion house. Former Givenchy star Tisci has previously designed costumes for Beyonce and Madonna and releases his debut collection in September.
“We are committed to applying the same creativity to all parts of Burberry as we do to our products,” Gobbetti said.
PETA, the campaign group for the ethical treatment of animals, welcomed Burberry’s move to stop using fur, which it said was a sign of the times.
“The few fashion houses refusing to modernize and listen to the overwhelming public opinion against fur are now sticking out like a sore thumb for all the wrong reasons,” PETA’s director of international programs, Mimi Bekhechi said.
Campaign group Humane Society International said animal charities would unite during this year’s major fashion shows to call on Italian brand Prada to follow Burberry’s lead.
The head of the International Fur Federation, Mark Oaten, said substituting natural fur with “plastic petroleum-based materials, like fake fur” was neither luxury nor responsible. ($1 = 0.7736 pounds)


Miles Davis and all that jazz

Miles Davis teaches actress Jeanne Moreau to play the trumpet. (AFP)
Updated 19 September 2018
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Miles Davis and all that jazz

  • Thankfully, the tapes were rolling on Dec. 19, 1970 — just one more historic evening when Miles changed music forever, before tearing up the rulebook again in pursuit of that most quixotic muse

ROTTERDAM: Miles Davis once claimed to have “changed music five or six times,” and while a man known for neither understatement nor modesty, some argue that the jazz icon sold himself short — biographer John Szwed once traced at least nine musical subgenres either born or shaped by Davis’ innovations. 

The revolutionary shopping list includes inventing cool-jazz in the 1940s, spawning hard bop, modal jazz and third-stream in the 1950s, and pioneering post-bop in the 1960s. However, the stylistic sea change Davis devoted most blood, sweat and tape toward were the ‘70s adventures in fusion most often epitomized by “B*****s Brew”, the first of ten dense double-LPs (plus two singles) recorded in just five years — which over 44 sides of vinyl explored and/or anticipated jazz-rock, funk, ambient, minimalism, worldbeat, psychedelic, space-jazz and even techno.

Trippy stuff, for sure, but not always easily listenable. Not the case with the misleadingly titled “Live-Evil” (1971) — a part-studio, mostly live set which captures Davis’ increasingly oblique electric permutations at their most fun, and funky. The bulk of the 102-minute runtime documents a one-night encounter with guest guitarist John McLaughlin, whose furious fretwork conceals an unusually ragged looseness and bluesy simplicity.

Such a raw approach suits the thick, squelchy grooves conjured by electric bassist Michael Henderson — recently recruited from Aretha Franklin’s band — grounding the untethered attack of drummer Jack DeJohnette’s crazed rock rhythms.

Recorded at the height of his boxing obsession, there’s a controlled aggression to Davis’ playing — the hurried rhythms of jabs and parries, ducks and dives — his horn harshly amplified through a wah-wah guitar pedal in a wholehearted Hendrix homage.

What little harmony there is comes from Keith Jarrett, whose overdriven organ scurries lend a frazzled energy and cerebral counter-balance. Soon after Jarrett — now the most renowned solo pianist on the planet — would quit and disavow electronic instruments altogether.

Thankfully, the tapes were rolling on Dec. 19, 1970 — just one more historic evening when Miles changed music forever, before tearing up the rulebook again in pursuit of that most quixotic muse.