Last week, tongues were clucking as it was revealed that local H&M stores destroy or mutilate unsold, unworn clothes instead of recycling the material or, even better, donating the goods to underprivileged New Yorkers who could use them. The fast-fashion marketer’s quick, positive resolution of “Trashgate” was almost as immediate and laudable as the original practice was careless and shameful. Now the New York Times has turned the focus of Trashgate from the private to the public, discovering that the New York Police Department has begun destroying clothing seized from counterfeiting raids instead of distributing it to relief organizations, which was common procedure in years past. Traditionally, seizures were cleared through the courts as used evidence, then marked or altered so that they no longer infringed on copyrights, something that took a big bite off the bottom line of trademark pirates and kept needy New Yorkers alive. While no one is exactly sure why the City has changed this practice, at least one lawyer, Robert Tucker, who represents Zac Posen, Ed Hardy, and Steve Madden, offers a defense of the uncharitable, un-green behavior. “These are people who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, some of them millions, to get counterfeit goods off the street … Everyone wants to feed and clothe the homeless. But how are you going to spend all this money and then put it back on the street?” How much does this guy get paid an hour?
Closing Pipeline to Needy, City Shreds Clothes [NYT]