A letter sent by president and CEO Karen Giberson to the organization’s members on Thursday addressed the potential new law, which would make it illegal to sell any apparel item or fashion accessory that uses calfskin, shearling and fur. Among the Accessories Council’s members are Bloomingdale’s, Caleres, Lord & Taylor, Kenneth Cole, Paul Andrew, Sperry, Tory Burch and FN’s sister publication WWD.
Giberson also touched on the economic impact of the ban, which “would be quite large.” As such, the organization is asking companies and associates that use the materials to participate in a confidential study that will be shared with the City Council. (A hearing is slated for 1 p.m. on May 15 at City Hall.)
If the bill passes, Giberson said that its sponsors would like to see other materials added to the list, including feathers and wool. “Freedom to choose our materials is important, assuming they are obtained in an ethical manner,” she said.
In March, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson introduced a bill that would make it illegal for businesses to sell fur apparel throughout the five boroughs. The measure came a week after District 67’s Linda Rosenthal took to the State Assembly to propose a bill that would prohibit “the manufacture, sale, display for sale, trade, giving, donating or otherwise distributing of a fur product,” including fur accessories and accents.
New York is not the first city to recommend a ban on fur sales. In February, Los Angeles’ City Council passed an ordinance that will prohibit the sale and manufacture of products made both in whole or in part with fur, including apparel and accessories, starting Jan. 1, 2021. (Used furs or designs made from recycled furs are exempt.) The first ban went into effect in West Hollywood, Calif., in 2013, targeting apparel, footwear and accessories but not handbags or jewelry. Berkeley, Calif., and San Francisco passed similar measures in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
A number of high-end designers are also increasingly abandoning the use of fur. In the past several years, Burberry, Coach, Gucci, Michael Kors (including Jimmy Choo), Versace and others have pledged to stop using the material in their collections.
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