Photos by Sheila Roth for Fox 9 News

Priscilla of Boston, best known for creating Grace Kelly’s yellow organdy bridesmaid dresses, is no more. But the 65-year-old bridal chain isn’t going out with a whimper. On Friday, eyewitnesses caught staffers spray-painting thousands of dollars’ worth of bridal and formal gowns in a dumpster outside a Priscilla of Boston boutique in Edina, MN, just shortly after the company announced it was shuttering all 19 of its locations. “I picked up a dress that was a Vera Wang, and the tag said $6,000 dollars,” Bessie Giannakakis, owner of Bessie’s Boutique, told Fox 9 News on Monday. “You wanted to throw up in the dumpster. You really did.”

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This isn’t the first time a retailer has been called out for destroying perfectly serviceable clothing, nor do we expect it to be the last—H&M, Walmart, and Victoria’s Secret have all received flak for choosing to mutilate rather than donate unsold or returned garments.

H&M, Walmart, and Victoria’s Secret have all received flak for choosing to mutilate rather than donate unsold garments.

As upsetting as the practice is—and it’s more common than you think—companies do this ostensibly to “preserve brand integrity,” reduce potential liability, and thwart counterfeiters, in no particular order. But labels can be cut out, particularly if it’s in service of causes that help brides in need, such as Brides Across America and Brides Against Breast Cancer. Or failing that, the gowns could have been auctioned off for charity.

Suitably chastised, David’s Bridal sent out a statement. “Like many of you, we were disheartened by imagery of a small number of unsold bridal gowns being destroyed following a Priscilla of Boston salon closure in the Midwest,” it said. “As the parent company of Priscilla of Boston, we fully understand the anger and frustration that many people are feeling about this occurrence.”

“While it has been Priscilla of Boston’s policy not to make donations of sample dresses that are in poor condition, we recognize that some of these dresses could possibly have gone to worthy causes,” the company added. “David’s Bridal has already begun bringing together all of the remaining Priscilla of Boston gowns to evaluate them and ensure that they are donated to our charitable partners wherever possible.”

Eyewitnesses noted, however, that a few dresses they salvaged did not present any visible defects. Whether David’s Bridal is as good as its word remains to be seen.

[Via Today]