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时装公司焚烧衣服的传统怎样才能改变

Will fashion firms stop burning clothes?
时装公司焚烧衣服的传统怎样才能改变

Imagine being a business that regularly takes huge swathes of your own products worth millions of pounds, and incinerates them. Your stock literally going up in smoke.

你有没有想象过,一家时装公司需要定期烧毁价值数百万英镑的产品,海量库存瞬间化为乌有。

It sounds crazy, but the practice has become increasingly common for some of the world’s biggest clothing manufacturers. Why? They argue it is the most cost-effective way of maintaining their brand’s exclusivity.

这听起来非常疯狂,但对于全球服装制造业大佬们来说却是习以为常的事。为什么要这么做?因为他们认为这是保持品牌价值最具成本效益的方式。

The clothes that are burned are those that don’t sell at a high enough price. Rather than watch them go on sale at hefty discounts, the companies in question would rather set fire to them and recoup a small amount of energy via the incineration.

被烧掉的都是那些没办法以高价出售的衣服。时装公司宁愿把它们烧掉,也不愿看到它们被低价抛售。

Burberry is one of the most well-known firms that, until recently, did this. In 2017, clothing worth £28.6 million was incinerated by the company – a figure that made global headlines. By September 2018, following intense media scrutiny, Burberry announced it had stopped incinerating clothes with immediate effect.

知名服装公司博柏利(Burberry,也有译为巴宝莉)最近也被发现在这么做。 2017年,博柏利烧毁了价值2860万英镑的衣服——这一数字曾登上全球头条新闻。直到2018年9月,在舆论压力下,博柏利才宣布停止烧毁衣服。

No-one knows exactly how much unsold stock is sent up in flames every year by the world’s fashion houses, but many clearly feel it makes business sense. Brands are under huge pressure to maintain the perception that their products – which cost time and money to make – are worth paying a certain amount for.

没有人确切知道全球各大时装公司每年有多少未售出的库存会被付之一炬,但很多人都清楚这么做的商业意义。品牌方承受着巨大的压力,因为他们必须保持这样的观念:自己的产品都是耗费大量时间和成本做的,得卖个好价钱才行。

“Selling them at lower and lower prices perpetuates a problem,” explains Pammi Sinha at the University of Leeds’ School of Design.

利兹大学设计学院的副教授辛哈(Pammi Sinha)解释道:“不断降价出售并不能解决问题的根源。”

But incineration has some very negative consequences. Burning clothes of course releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which exacerbates global warming.

但焚烧的后果非常糟糕。焚烧衣服势必会把二氧化碳和其他温室气体排放到大气中,从而加剧全球变暖。

A UK parliamentary committee report on sustainability and the fashion industry published in February considered the various environmental impacts of incineration.

英国议会委员会2月份发表的关于可持续发展和时尚产业的报告提到了焚烧对环境的各种影响。

It said, “While incineration of unsold stock ‘recovers’ some energy from the products, it multiplies the climate impact of the product by generating further emissions and air pollutants that can harm human health.

报告指出:虽然通过焚烧库存能使企业从滞销的产品中得到些许恢复,但却进一步排放危害人类健康的废弃和空气污染物,加深了产品对气候的影响。

    蛐蛐英语 www.qqenglish.com

“Incineration of clothes made from synthetic fibres may release plastic microfibres into the atmosphere.”

“焚烧由合成纤维制成的衣服可能会将塑料微纤维排放到大气中。”报告说。

The report advised the government to ban the burning or dumping of unsold stock if it can be reused or recycled.

报告还建议政府禁止燃烧或倾倒未售出的库存,尽可能重复使用或回收。

Sinha says that part of the problem is that fashion firms are built from the ground up to produce and sell products. The only option for much unsold stock is disposal. Entire assembly lines are constructed with this model in mind. Naturally, that can lead to a lot of waste. Elizabeth Napier at Georgia State University says of 100 billion garments made every year worldwide, 92 million tons become waste.

辛哈分析称,部分原因是时装公司从成立之初起,就只生产和销售服装。大多数未售出库存的唯一出路便是销,整个服装生产线正是以这个模型构建的。但这么做肯定会导致浪费。佐治亚州立大学的纳皮尔(Elizabeth Napier)说,全球每年生产1000亿件服装,产生了9200万吨废品。

This could change, though. What if those companies had an arm tasked with taking back clothes that haven’t been sold so that they can be disassembled, redesigned into new products, and shipped out to the market once again?

但也有办法改变这种情况。如果时装公司设置一个专门负责回收未出售库存的部门,再在拆分之后重新设计成新产品,输送到市场上呢?

“Within a big luxury label where their reputation rests on design, they could possibly put together a design and production team for this,” explains Sinha.

辛哈解释说:“大型奢侈品牌的声誉主要依赖于设计,他们完全可以为此安排一个专门的设计和制作团队。”

That would require some investment and, for the venture to be worthwhile, companies would have to make sure the remade products are desirable so that the waste problem isn’t simply kicked down the road. But in principle it would be a step up from simply burning or dumping products in huge quantities.

这么做不仅需要一些投资,且为了证明这一大胆尝试是值得的,公司必须确保重新再造的产品是受欢迎的,只有这样服装废品问题才不是被简单地踢掉,而是比简单的焚烧或倾倒往前迈了一步。

Some firms are leading the way on upcycling – where unwanted products are remade into desirable new attire. That can include reusing anything from old industrial fabrics to unsold clothing from other companies.

一些品牌的升级再造技术处于领先地位——未出售的服装被重新制作成受欢迎的新装,包括重复使用旧的工业面料和其他公司未售出的服装。

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LA-based brand Reformation is one example of a firm that takes such “deadstock” clothing and reuses the materials in its own designs. Nearly 15% of the fabric Reformation uses comes from deadstock.

洛杉矶的一家公司就是一个品牌升级再造的例子,这家公司利用“无用库存”服装并把这些材料重新用在自己的设计中。公司几乎15%的织物改造均来自“无用库存”。

There’s also an opportunity to focus on biodegradable fabrics. Clothes that decompose better might not have to be burned. They would also appeal to many consumers who care about the environmental impact of their own wardrobes.

可生物降解的面料也值得关注。如果衣服能得到更好的分解就可能不需要焚烧,也会吸引许多关心衣物影响环境的消费者。

For significant effects to be felt, though, the fashion giants would have to take sustainability practices, like those mentioned above, on board. It can’t be left to start-ups and bespoke brands. That brings us to the bigger picture – and the other major hurdle for sustainability in the fashion industry.

然而,只有时尚巨头们采取上述可持续发展策略才能取得明显效果。时装业的可持续发展不能只依靠初创品牌和定制品牌。这让我们进一步了解时装业可持续发展的另一个主要障碍。

In essence, we have an over-production problem. According to data from the World Bank, analysed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, while clothing sales have risen steadily since the year 2000, clothing utilisation has fallen at roughly the same rate. That means for every extra t-shirt that is sold, it will be worn roughly half as much as it would have been 20 years ago.

归根结底,我们面临的其实是过度生产的问题。由艾伦麦克阿瑟基金会分析的世界银行数据显示,自2000年以来,服装销售额稳步上升,服装使用率却以相同的速度下降。这意味着每多售出一件T恤,它的使用率是20年前的一半。

“I definitely think we’re in a position where we’re over-supplying the market and we’ve got to rethink,” says Sinha.

辛哈说:“当前服装市场必然是供过于求的,我们必须重新思考。”

Napier agrees. She says that one way fashion firms could avoid having to burn so many clothes is through better forecasting of market trends, which would in theory result in less waste. But a move towards making clothes designed to last would help greatly. Garments with long lives can of course be marketed as good investments for customers.

纳皮尔深表赞同。她说,时装公司可以通过更好地预测市场趋势避免烧掉这么多衣服,理论上可以减少浪费。设计并制作经久耐穿的衣服也是一个重要的举措。顾客当然也愿意投资耐穿的服装。

“It makes consumers feel better about their purchases,” says Napier.

纳皮尔说:“这会让消费者购物感觉更好。”

She gives the example of Patagonia, one among several outdoor brands that guarantee the long life of their products.

她举了巴塔哥尼亚(Patagonia)的例子,巴塔哥尼亚是注重服装使用寿命的户外品牌之一。

Both Sinha and Napier argue that ending the incineration of unsold clothes won’t happen simply through fashion firms reusing and recycling materials. The sheer scale of fashion production has to change too.

辛哈和纳皮尔一致认为,只有通过时装公司重复使用和回收材料,才能终结对未售库存的焚烧。大规模生产服装的方式也必须改变。

And it’s important to recognise that these consumer-focused brands will only go where the market takes them. If protecting the environment really matters to the public, then they have to make clear that they want more sustainable clothing in the first place.

更加重要的是,这些以消费者为中心的品牌只会跟着市场走,如果公众真的重视保护环境,那么他们就必须明确想要生产可持续的服装。

“Without consumers demanding that, it won’t change,” says Napier.

纳皮尔说:“消费者如果没有这个需求,时装业的现状就不会改变。”

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