Our culture glamorizes any designer. Rappers name Dior and Balencies, while fashion influencers unbox red background Louboutin on IG. Like many second generation, I grew up understanding these shiny and coveted items as signs of “doing” in America (which is probably why I rarely saw my Filipino aunts without Louis Vuitton or other designer handbags. A shoulder strap). But anti-waste activist Anna Sacks is forcing us to take a look without flinching to the ambitious aura that surrounds these products. In a TikTok she posted earlier this week that she claimed Coach was destroying his unsold but fully functional bags, taking advantage of a tax loophole.
Whether Coach admits to this practice or not (we’ve reached out to the company for feedback with everyone), other designer brands have been engaged in it for some time now in order to keep their products scarcer, according to The Wall Street Journal. Because it’s something that they don’t really make public, many of us have remained blissfully ignorant of this waste – but now that TikTok puts it in our face, we have no choice but to do it. ‘face, in all its capitalist ugliness.
In his TikTok, Sacks (aka, @thetrashwalker) stated that she bought a number of Coach bags cut from another TikToker Tiffany She’ree (@dumpsterdivingmama). âThat’s what they do with junk cargo,â Sacks said. “They order an employee to cut it off on purpose, so that no one can use it.” She added that Coach is exploiting a tax loophole by claiming the same deduction they would have if the handbags were accidentally damaged. With every sliced ââsack she held, I swore to feel my frugal soul fleeing from my body.
The irony is that Coach has a repair program for its bags. âDon’t throw it away, fix it – it’s another little thing we can do to prevent bags from going to landfill and reduce our impact on the planet,â the brand said on its website. It also allows customers to exchange their bags âTo recycle or reinventâ. Sacks told TikTok that she plans to have Coach fix her bags. If its claims hold up, however, these initiatives may represent little more than just another example of classic corporate greenwashing.
The fashion industry is wreaking havoc on the planet, by the World Bank, representing 10% of global carbon emissions. With much of the world literally on fire in recent months, donating or handing over unwanted goods appears to be the most lasting solution. But, alas, it is not the most profitable, and under capitalism, it is usually the end result that wins.
According to the Wall Street newspaper, donating or selling these products at a reduced price would undermine the very assumption on which the luxury industry is based, that its products are more expensive because they are more valuable. In reality, “the retail price of a luxury product has nothing to do with its actual value”, Timo Rissanen, associate dean at the Parsons School of Design, Recount Vox. When you buy, say, a full-price Chanel dress, you are mainly helping to cover the cost of advertising. And if Chanel destroys an unsold dress priced at $ 1,200, “she hasn’t really lost $ 1,200,” Rissanen said. “I don’t think Chanel even paid $ 100 [to make] this dress. âPerfume sales could probably make up for the loss, he explained. the Wall Street newspaper pointed out, in many countries, luxury companies can claim a tax credit to ruin their unsold products.
In short, these brands have little or no financial incentive to donate or cut down on unwanted products. In fact, if they don’t destroy them, their entire economic model would collapse.
As Microphone previously reported, Sacks is part of a growing movement among TikTokers to raise the curtain on this all too common and unnecessary practice. The fashion industry is showing some signs that it is listening to them and other sustainability-conscious Gen Zs, according to the The Wall Street Journal. In 2018, Burberry announced that it would stop destroying its unsold products. In the meantime, I hope Sacks will keep releasing more of these TikToks, even if they make us squirm. They are supposed to do it.