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Deadstock fabric is the stock wasted by fashion brands at the end of the manufacturing process. When a company over orders materials, the fabric may be lumped into a store room once the season is over. In 2018, Burberry destroyed over £28m of stock for just this reason, the next season was underway and these fabrics were wasting their space. This event caused public outrage and led many to reconsider how deadstock fabric can be placed back into circulation. 

Image courtesy of Cece Project

Fashion brands may consider deadstock fabric to be useless for numerous reasons, including errors or damages, wrong dye colours, overestimating quantities and not passing the appropriate tests. Instead of burning the stock, as Burberry did in 2018, many smaller fashion brands are opting to buy deadstock fabrics to produce their clothing items. In fact, there is now an increasing demand for deadstock fabrics, given that it reduces the excess waste produced by the fashion industry.

For smaller brands, deadstock fabric is a fantastic alternative to newly produced polyester or cotton. There is no minimum order quantity to deadstock fabric, as there is constantly excess waste produced by fast fashion brands. Therefore, it offers a more affordable material source on a smaller scale. 

However, it’s important to understand that just because an item is produced from deadstock fabrics, it doesn’t automatically become sustainable. Deadstock fabric can still be harmful to the environment, although it reduces excess waste in the fashion industry. Many are concerned that the use of deadstock fabric goes hand-in-hand with greenwashing, the act of making a product appear to be more sustainable than it actually is. Also, the fashion revolution is looking to reduce the overproduction of fabrics, rather than increase the demand for it.