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Burberry ‘Pioneering a Future’ of Circular Luxury with The RealReal

Burberry is cementing its commitment to the sustainable and circular resale model, chastened perhaps after getting caught red-handed burning perfectly good products.

The British brand known for its signature plaid will offer a “personalized shopping experience” to consumers who choose to consign their clothing to The RealReal’s popular resale platform.

On Oct. 7, the luxury brand and resale platform announced their partnership that furthers the cause of resale and consignment as a boon to sustainability. According to The RealReal, around 329 million liters of water have been saved by the consignment of Burberry women’s wear since 2012, along with 77.4 metric tons of offset carbon.

To reward Burberry shoppers who choose to consign their clothing on The RealReal’s platform instead of throwing it away or recycling it improperly—which wastes $500 billion in value a year, according to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation—the luxury brand will be offering consigners an in-store personal styling appointment complete with a spot of “British High Tea” from Oct. 7 to Jan. 31, 2020.

“Leading the way in creating a more circular economy for fashion is a key element of our responsibility agenda,” Pam Batty, vice president of corporate responsibility at Burberry, said in a statement. “The RealReal shares our ambition to promote the circular economy and keep clothing in use for longer. We know that the enduring quality of Burberry pieces means their appeal and value is long-lasting. Through this new partnership 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.”

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The RealReal has good reason to promote Burberry products, even outside of sustainability. According to the resale platform, the luxury brand’s products have increased in demand by 64 percent year-over-year, especially among millennials and Gen Z.

Considering the influence sustainability can have on the purchasing decisions of younger shoppers, and Burberry’s somewhat patchy record with the subject in the past, its work in adopting more more sustainable and eco-friendly practices could be have a noticeable impact on the brand’s reputation.

“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,” Julie Wainwright, CEO of The RealReal, added. “I hope together we’ll be a part of pioneering a future in which circularity is a consideration for every luxury brand.”

Burberry was also an active participant in the UNFCCC’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, a signatory of the UN Global Compact, a core partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative and a signatory of The Fashion Pact, signed at the 2019 G7 summit.

Additionally, as a part of the program, the luxury brand will be joining its resources with The RealReal for a donation to the Materials for the Arts charity in New York City as a part of the program’s launch to promote changes in the way society thinks about materials and waste.

There will be 18 Burberry stores participating in the program at launch, including two locations in Manhattan.