The recent headlines around Burberry’s business policy towards unsold product (last year it destroyed £28.6 million worth of stock) have been inescapable. But, under chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci, the brand is turning over a new leaf. It will cease its practice of putting unsaleable products into landfill with immediate effect. And starting with the Italian designer’s first collection, which he will premiere at London Fashion Week on September 17 at 5pm, the company will go fur free.
“Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible,” Marco Gobbetti, Burberry’s chief executive officer, said of the in-house mission to go greener. “This belief is core to us at Burberry and key to our long-term success. We are committed to applying the same creativity to all parts of Burberry as we do to our products.”
The pact to cease destruction of stock builds on the goals Burberry set last year as part of its five-year responsibility programme. “We already reuse, repair, donate or recycle unsaleable products,” a company press release stated of its efforts. In the past year, Burberry formed an alliance with sustainable luxury company Elvis & Kresse to transform 120 tonnes of leather offcuts into new products over the specified time period. It has also financially backed the Burberry Material Futures Research Group in partnership with the Royal College of Art to invent new sustainable materials. And, in May 2018, it signed up to the Ellen McArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular Initiative. These efforts have been recognised by the brand’s inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the third consecutive year.
As per Tisci’s newly-instated ban on fur, the company will phase out all existing fur products. Suddenly his upcoming collaboration with fashion’s eco warrior Vivienne Westwood, which will launch in December 2018 and support the rainforest charity Cool Earth, slots neatly into the new era of Burberry and Tisci’s release strategies. But, we’ll have to see how Givenchy’s former artistic director expands his “enormous respect for Burberry’s British heritage and global appeal,” which he declared on accepting the job, without a material that has been integral to its previous international success.