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)


Imaan Hammam gets colorful in Versace

Updated 22 September 2018
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Imaan Hammam gets colorful in Versace

DUBAI: Italy’s Versace played with bold prints, patchwork and leather in its Spring/Summer 2019 women’s collection in a star-studded show on Friday, the third day of Milan’s fashion week.
Dutch-Moroccan-Egyptian model Imaan Hammam, who has walked for the fashion house before, took to the runway in an elaborated denim pantsuit emblazoned with Versace’s flagship prints in neon colors.

Imaan Hammam. (AFP)


Meanwhile, celebrity model Bella Hadid, who walked the show with sister Gigi, wore a tight one-shouldered mini dress in yellow leather and matching sneakers.
Singers Leona Lewis, Nicki Minaj and Rita Ora, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, actor Luke Evans and Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni were all in the front row of an enormous industrial space in the modern CityLife neighborhood where the runway show was held, Reuters reported.

Bella Hadid. (AFP)


Pale yellow walls formed a background to a carpeted floor that echoed some of the prints used in the collection — colored stripes, bright flowers over pinstripes, checks, roses and small flowers mimicking animal prints.
“The style of the Versace woman is so recognizable that it need not be explained. She is not afraid of showing her personality and she is extremely feminine and confident,” read a style note by the fashion house, known for its daring designs.
Close-fitting silhouettes, ruched flared trousers and layered looks, with tulle mini-dresses paired with silk-printed longer ones, designed by Artistic Director and Vice President Donatella Versace, paraded down the catwalk in orange, violet and lime colors.

Gigi Hadid. (AFP)


“The all-over prints of the clothes are overlapped with neat nonchalance,” the note said.
For the evening, Versace flaunted a black satin tuxedo paired with flared trousers, or knee-length leather skirts with golden buttons.
Nineties supermodel Shalom Harlow closed the show, donning a long tulle dress with colorful flower embellishments that flared out in a transparent, sparkly black skirt.
Some of the models carried big boxed bags that echoed old-fashioned travel trunks, or large PVC shopping bags emblazoned with Versace writing. On their feet they wore chunky sneakers, college shoes, or square-heeled sandals, while their ears featured big flower-shaped ear-cuffs matched with hairpins.
The brand with the famed Medusa logo said that her “mystic powers and ever-powerful persona are evident now more than ever,” according to the show notes.
Fake snakeskin, flowers, polished leather and layer upon layer, the Versace collection was eclectic and refined, AFP noted in its review.