Anna Sacks, who goes by the username @thetrashwalker on TikTok, frequently uses her platform to raise awareness of New York City’s excessive waste, with the TikTok user often documenting the unused “trash” thrown out by pharmacies and supermarkets.
In her most recent video, uploaded this week, Sacks revealed that she had purchased multiple destroyed Coach purses from @dumpsterdivingmama, with Sacks claiming that each of the bags had been intentionally ruined, “which is Coach’s policy”.
“Welcome to my first unboxing video,” Sacks began as she held up multiple ruined purses. “So excited to show you all the Coach purses that I’ve bought from @dumpsterdivingmama. As you can see, they’re all slashed, which is Coach’s policy.
“This is what they do with unwanted merchandise, they order an employee to deliberately slash it so no one can use it.”
According to Sacks, the fashion company then allegedly writes off the destroyed merchandise as a “tax write off,” with the TikTok user claiming that the write off is “under the same tax loophole as if it were accidentally destroyed”.
Sacks then acknowledged that Coach has a repair program for its bags, with the TikToker explaining that she is going to attempt to bring the bags to the designer and ask for them to be repaired.
“Because, according to their website, they really care about the circular economy and they really care about sustainability,” Sacks continued. “They are a publicly traded company but this is not disclosed anywhere.”
The video then saw Sacks share a screenshot of the portion of the website dedicated to Coach’s commitment to repairing bags, which reads, in part: “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 environment”.
Sacks concluded the viral video using a claim from the brand’s website, adding sarcastically: “Coach is working to make fashion circular.”
On Coach’s website, it explains that the brand is dedicated to making products that last because “we believe that better made things create a better future for all”.
“Why? Because keeping and wearing what you buy for longer (even a few months) decreases the impact it has on the planet,” the company states on the responsibility portion of its website, adding that it is “proud” to be named one of Barron’s 2020 Most Sustainable Companies in America.
As of Monday, Sacks’ video has been viewed more than 1.9m times, with viewers expressing their disappointment with the brand in the comments.
“Thank you for calling out companies for their environmental impact! @Coach be better!” one person commented.
Another said: “Holding companies accountable, I love that for us.”
However, as many other viewers pointed out, Coach is not the only brand to allegedly purposely destroy merchandise, as other high fashion brands such as Burberry previously destroyed unsold clothes to “preserve its reputation of exclusivity,” according to a 2018 Vox report.
The report also found that brands such as H&M and Nike have previously destroyed unsold merchandise.
One viewer claimed that Coach will no longer destroy merchandise as of this year, however, with the TikTok user writing: “Coach Retail stopped cutting damages this year. They are now sent to be repaired or repurposed” and that the new program is “not in outlet stores yet”.
“But even these bags were probably deemed unsellable or unrepairable,” they continued. “No one has enough product to destroy anything sellable.”
The Independent has contacted Tapestry, the owner of Coach, and Sacks for comment.