Burberry became the latest luxury fashion house to announce that it would no longer use real fur, starting with recently appointed creative director Riccardo Tisci’s debut collection on Sept. 17. In a press release today, the British heritage label revealed that it will also phase out existing real fur products.
In addition to nixing the controversial fabric, Burberry will halt the practice of destroying unsaleable products following criticism over the summer about its decision to maintain brand exclusivity by sending 28.6 million euros ($32.7 million) worth of products to the incinerator in the past year instead of donating or selling at a discount.
“Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible. This belief is core to us at Burberry and key to our long-term success. We are committed to applying the same creativity to all parts of Burberry as we do to our products,” CEO Marco Gobbetti said in a statement.
Donatella Versace caused a stir when she rejected fur’s use as a style statement in an interview with The Economist‘s cultural magazine, 1843, in March. “Fur? I am out of that,” she said. “I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.” Shortly after, the brand confirmed that it would be going fur-free beginning with its 2019 collections as part of a broader plan to embrace a more conscious and environment-savvy approach to fashion.
“Fur products already represent a minor part of Versace’s product line,” CEO Jonathan Akeroyd said. “This commitment is part of a broader, sustainable innovation program the company is pursuing that includes not only a strong commitment to work across our entire supply chain, but also a strong and deep cultural shift that will benefit all employees.”
The Italian house launched its sustainable initiative with the opening of a boutique in London’s Sloane Street, the first of its kind to be LEED-certified. It also plans to open new eco-friendly stores in Miami and Munich.
Also in March, fellow Italian brand Furla declared that it would go fur-free with its cruise 2019 collection, which hits stores in November. The handbag and accessories maker has limited the use of fur over the years and would substitute the animal product with ecological fur in the future.
In an exclusive interview with FN’s sister publication, WWD, the group’s CEO, Alberto Camerlengo, explained that “the decision to progressively ban from the collections the use of animal fur is a project that confirms the brand’s increasing interest in the environment, with particular attention to the animal world, to which Furla is very sensitive. The decision, moreover, responds to the growing request for ethical products by consumers who are more and more aware and attentive to these themes.”
Albeit making its announcement last fall, Gucci’s plan to ban mink, coyote, fox, rabbit and all other species’ pelages went into effect with the introduction of its spring 2018 collection, which was shown at Milan Fashion Week in September. The remaining animal fur pieces was determined to be auctioned off for charity.
During a talk at the London College of Fashion, CEO Marco Bizzarri declared that the move showed the Italian powerhouse’s “absolute commitment to making sustainability an intrinsic part of our business.” It also became part of the Fur Free Alliance, a global group of more than 40 organizations committed to animal welfare and alternatives to fur in the fashion industry.
DKNY and Donna Karan
Following longtime pressure from animal welfare advocates like PETA, Donna Karan and DKNY is set to move toward an anti-fur business come fall 2019. Parent company G-III made the announcement during its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings report, with CEO Morris Goldfarb touting the company’s relationship with the Humane Society International’s United States branch.
“HSI is delighted that since Gucci declared fur to be outdated, designers have been racing to prove their relevance by dropping the archaic material,” said Wendy Higgins, HSI’s director of international media.
Another big name that has also vowed to design sans fur is John Galliano. The Maison Margiela creative director revealed in a French Elle interview that a run-in with PETA senior vice president Dan Mathews led to his denouncing the material. (Galliano had also recently become vegetarian but added that it wasn’t related to his newfound anti-fur stance.)
“You can be outrageous and fun without fur!” Galliano exclaimed. “Come and party with us, you’ll see!” It becomes the first Paris-based couture house to go fur-free.
A month after completing its acquisition of luxury shoe brand Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. stated that it would join the fur-free fray by no longer using animal fur in its products, with production phased out by the end of this year.
“Due to technological advances in fabrications, we now have the ability to create a luxe aesthetic using non-animal fur,” Michael Kors said in a statement. CEO John Idol added: “This decision marks a new chapter as our company continues to evolve its use of innovative materials.”
The announcement followed a June talk at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where WWD reported that animal rights activists stormed the stage and taunted the designer for his use of fur.
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