It appears Burberry and its prestigious tartan checks are taking another bold step toward sustainability: On Monday, the 163-year-old British luxury fashion house announced it’s teaming up with the secondary market platform The RealReal to promote a more circular fashion economy.
Essentially, the program relies on positive reinforcement: Customers who consign their pre-loved Burberry garb on The RealReal are rewarded for acting sustainably with an exclusive personal shopping experience in select Burberry stores across the US. According to the storied label, shoppers will be treated to champagne and high tea while they peruse a personalized selection of the latest Burberry products.
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Given the enduring nature of Burberry pieces—the timeless Heritage Trench rarely goes out of style—it’s not surprising the brand is embracing longevity. And, according to The RealReal, resale demand for Burberry has increased by 64 percent year-over-year, with searches for Burberry on the site rising fastest among Millennial and Gen Z shoppers. The more customers listing vintage Burberry products on the site, the more sales made. Indeed, it seems as though the partnership is as fortuitous for both companies as it is for the earth.
“We hope to not only champion a more circular future, but encourage consumers to consider all the options available to them when they’re looking to refresh their wardrobes,” said Pam Batty, vice president of corporate responsibility at Burberry.
It’s not the first eco-friendly step Burberry has taken. In 2018, the label committed to ending the practice of incinerating unsold goods. Then, back in June, Burberry announced its “ambitious goals” to become carbon neutral in operational energy use by 2022 and plastic-free by 2025. Still, this latest initiative is of particular importance since more than $500 billion of value is lost every year due to clothing not being recycled effectively, with some garments discarded after just seven to ten wears.
Burberry isn’t the first luxury label to partner with The RealReal. In 2017, eco-warrior and designer Stella McCartney also incentivized sustainability by offering those who consigned secondhand Stella items a $100 credit toward new Stella pieces. Of course, it’s a case of the more the merrier.
“A brand as storied as Burberry embracing the circular economy demonstrates the power of resale’s impact on both the luxury market and the planet,” said Julie Wainwright, CEO of The RealReal. “I hope together we’ll be a part of pioneering a future in which circularity is a consideration for every luxury brand.”
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