Luxury design house Coach has announced it will cease destroying products returned in-store following claims that it slashed unwanted items in order to take advantage of a tax loophole.
In a post on its official Instagram brand account, Coach said it was “committed to leading with purpose and embracing our responsibility as a global fashion brand to effect [sic] real and lasting change for our industry”.
The brand continued: “We have now ceased destroying in-store returns of damaged and unsaleable goods and are dedicated to maximising such products reuse in our Coach (Re)Loved and other circularity programs.
“Last year, we donated product valued at over US$55 million to support low-income families, individuals in need, those re-entering the workforce, and education programs.
“We will continue to develop and implement solutions to responsibly repurpose, recycle, and reuse excess or damaged products.”
It comes after a TikTok user, Anna Sacks, posted a video accusing Coach of purposefully damaging unwanted items and writing the products off as “accidentally destroyed”.
Sacks filmed herself holding up the unusable bags and a pair of shoes, which she said she bought from another user who goes by the name Dumpster Diving Mama.
“As you can see, they’re all slashed, which is Coach’s policy,” she says in the video.
“This is what they do with unwanted merchandise. They order an employee to deliberately slash it so no one can use it.
“And then they write it off as a tax write-off, under the same tax loophole as if it were accidentally destroyed,” Sacks, who uses her platform to campaign against waste, adds.
Coach did not reference the allegations in its statement, which comes five days after the video was posted. It has since been viewed 2.5 million times, with more than 573,100 likes.
Sacks said she would bring the damaged goods to Coach and ask the brand to repair them under its Coach Repair Workshop program.
The brand’s website reads: “All of our bags are crafted to last. We know that things happen, though, and sometimes bags need repair.
“The good news is: we have our very own Coach Repair Workshop staffed by expert craftspeople who love your bags as much as you do.
“So don’t ditch it repair it – it’s another small thing we can do to keep bags out of landfill and reduce our impact on the planet.”
Popular fashion watchdog account, Diet Prada, re-posted the allegations on its Instagram page earlier this week, intensifying the social media backlash against Coach.
Sacks told Diet Prada via email: “I’ve been trying to get at the cycle of overproduction and destruction from different angles, including by sharing stories of people who are ordered to destroy these items and by sharing images of the physical mutilated items.
“Coach is a good example of this phenomenon since it’s supposed to be an all-American brand, is publicly listed (under Tapestry), and many people are familiar with it.”
The Independent has contacted Coach for comment.