UPDATE: Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo have now announced they will stop using animal fur. Any fur items currently in production will be phased out by December 2018 with a new faux alternative coming in the next collections.
Major fashion house Gucci has announced it’s finally going fur-free.
As one of the most prolific users of fur in the fashion industry, Gucci president and CEO Marco Bizzarri announced the revolutionary new policy on October 11 at a London College of Fashion Event, saying: “Being socially responsible is one of Gucci’s core values, and we will continue to strive to do better for the environment and animals.”
Beginning with the brand’s SS18 collection (which was shown in September), Gucci will no longer use fur from minks, coyotes, rabbits, foxes and any other animal species.
The label is following in the footsteps of other designers and brands including Armani, Vivienne Westwood, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss and Yoox Net-a-Porter who have all pledged to stop selling fur.
“Gucci going fur-free is a huge game-changer. For this Italian powerhouse to end the use of fur because of the cruelty involved will have a huge ripple effect throughout the world of fashion,” commented Humane Society International president, Kitty Block.
“A staggering one hundred million animals a year still suffer for the fur industry, but that can only be sustained for as long as designers continue to use fur. So we commend Gucci’s compassionate decision, and for helping to ensure that the future of fashion is fur-free.”
PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk was delighted at the news, telling Yahoo Style UK: “After more than 20 years of PETA protests against Gucci’s kangaroo-fur loafers and seal-fur boots, Gucci has finally pledged to join Armani, Ralph Lauren, and Stella McCartney in the ranks of fur-free fashion houses.”
“The writing was on the wall: today’s shoppers don’t want to wear the skins of animals who were caged, then electrocuted or bludgeoned to death. Until all animal skins and coats are finally off the racks of clothing stores worldwide, PETA will keep up the pressure on the clothing and fashion industry.”
Although over 73% of people in the EU think fur farming is unacceptable, one in five fashion designers still use fur. The material has been used by almost every major designer in Milan as well as a few in Paris, New York and London.
Most fur nowadays is sold on fur-trimmed jackets but high end brands are repeat offenders of using the material to create entire fur coats.
Karl Lagerfeld is one of the fur industry’s greatest advocates, creating an entire collection from it for Fendi’s first ‘haute fourrure’ show in 2015. 30 looks were made entirely from fur including floor-length coats and dresses and trailing scarves.
Saying that “Fendi is fur and fur is Fendi,” the esteemed designer added: “For me, as long as people eat meat and wear leather, I don’t get the message. It’s very easy to say no fur, no fur, no fur, but it’s an industry.”
London-based brand Burberry has faced repeat protests over their use of fur. Although the label’s most recent collection contained only faux fur, animal rights campaigners still lobbied outside to speak out against Burberry’s inclusion of fox, raccoon and mink fur in the past.
Many are asking the British Fashion Council to tell its designers to stop using fur. A spokesperson for the BFC said it “does not dictate what designers can or cannot design and has no control over their creative process. We encourage designers to ensure that if they choose to work with fur, they work with reputable organisations that supply ethically sourced fur.”
Dior, Saint Laurent, Prada, Michael Kors and Dolce & Gabbana are just a few of the other brands that still use fur in their collections.
In 2014, several designers were accused of using fur from cruel animal farms by non-profit organisation, Last Chance for Animals. All denied sourcing fur from that particular place with many releasing statements on their ‘ethical’ policies.
“The House of Dior emphasises that all of its products made of fur fully respect the EU guidelines,” said a Dior spokesperson with Saint Laurent commenting: “Saint Laurent teams are continuously working to find ways to ensure high standards of animal welfare. In line with its sustainability commitment, Saint Laurent has developed specific ‘fur guidelines’ which are systematically distributed to direct suppliers.”
Burberry, too, spoke out, saying that the brand “sources all natural raw materials very carefully in our efforts to safeguard the correct ethical standards in line with our ethical trading policy. Burberry will not use fur if there is concern that its production has involved the unacceptable treatment of animals.”
It’s not just big brands that are the enemies of animal rights groups. London Fashion Week designer Anya Hindmarch, who fights to be more sustainable when it comes to plastic, routinely uses fur to trim shoes and bags and even created a mink fur sticker.
Despite selling a range of faux fur pieces, younger designer Charlotte Simone has also been questioned over her decision to include real fur hoods and scarves (although she’s adamant “it’s not a fur label”).
In an industry that is working towards becoming more ethical and more sustainable – as seen by the BFC’s Positive Fashion initiative – it’s surprising that such a large number of brands continue to use a material that is not only cruel but also bad for the environment.
If you’re looking to go fur-free, check out a list of no fur retailers here.
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