Let me briefly explain the cost of a basic cotton t-shirt; starting from the sowing of cotton until it becomes a fabric, 2700 liters of water is required for a t-shirt fabric, a minimum of 2 weeks fabric production process and dyeing, 1 day for the pattern, cutting, testing and sewing of the model, and dozens of people and tools to do all these tasks. If you do this for higher quality perhaps you double the time and money saved.
Knowing all this, it is not acknowledgeable for big brands to reduce the sales price or destroy products instead of donating them just so that the "brand value" does not decrease. France makes states that 630 million Euros were destroyed in 2014, and Germany 7 billion Euros for 2010. On the other hand, Burberry reported in its 2018 annual report that they destroyed $36.8 million worth of unsold products. H&M is accused of burning 60 tons of goods since 2013. Certainly, these are self-reported values and are just the tip of the iceberg.
If you are curios about the diposal process of the goods ,they burn, break them up and use them to fill the land. There is no official statement, estimation of the European Union related to the amount of goods destroyed each year, or a legal regulation developed to prevent this practice. However, awareness-raising organizations are starting to raise their voices more, forcing countries to take action as soon as possible even a little.
Until now, France has taken a step towards the prevention of waste from fashion brands, and with a law dated 28 January 2020, it prohibits the destruction of unsold or returned products of clothing and luxury brands, designers.
France is followed by Germany. German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze stated that the country wants to end the destruction of new goods by updating the circular economy law. With the draft law enacted on February 12, 2020, the destruction of stocks other than products that have become unusable is prohibited. As of 2021, voices began to rise in America. The USPIRG, the United States Public Interest Group Calls organization, urges state guardians to hold the industry accountable for overproduction and to prohibit the disposal of excess stock.
With all these environmental reactions, laws and awareness, brands are thinking about what to do with the goods that they cannot destroy. Burberry has made an agreement with the British Fashion Council (BFC) and announced that it will contribute to the circular fashion economy.
We can say that Alexander McQueen, who donated unused fabrics during production to fashion schools and students, became the pioneer of this trend by donating unused fabrics to fashion students at 14 different universities in 2020. Around the world, new brands that collect many deadstock fabrics or that make collections by upcycling the leftover products for reuse have started to come into the market. As a designer, I can say that this is indeed difficult.