There’s no stopping the winds of change. These winds are blowing in full force in France. France’s senate has approved legislation banning the destruction of unsold non-food items, including cosmetics and luxury items, in a “world-first”, according to the government. It is no secret that this is where fashion lives; fashion breathes, grows and thrives. But it is certainly shocking to learn that clothes and shoes of the weight of “up to two Eiffel Towers” are binned annually. It is definitely alarming that a billion Euros worth of unsold non-food items is thrown away or destroyed every year in France. That’s the sad state of affairs until the winds of change came, which caused a 30 percent rise in charity food donations. This was possible after the enactment of a law banning supermarkets from destroying unsold food, and obliging supermarkets to hand it to charity. France is all geared to take care of the impending issues too which involves extending the ban to cosmetics, clothing, shoes, textiles, electronics or plastics, and other products. We are surely hoping that this pushes luxury brands to do something about the unsold items instead of burning them up, because that certainly isn’t happening. This leaves big luxury brands with options like selling at knock-down prices to staff, taking the labels off, reusing the materials in-house or in recycling chains.
Burberry learnt their lesson early and promised to stop the practice of destroying unsaleable products. They opted to “reuse, repair, donate or recycle which is what many others will be doing and soon. The game has changed, the fashion will too and the environment will feel better if not the big brands.