At the being of the month, Italian powerhouse Gucci announced they will be ditching fur from all of their collections, starting with Spring/Summer 2018. Mink and Alpaca coats and their fur-lined Princetown loafers have become signature pieces since appearing on the runway back in 2015, causing a stir among animal rights activists. By dropping the use of fur, the label will be following suit alongside other luxury designers including Stella McCartney and Armani who all aim to make fashion more ethical and sustainable; producing clothing that is fur-free and is no way harmful to animals or the environment.
More than 85% of all fur comes from fur farms where animals are killed for their skins.
The controversy over fur has been on the fashion agenda long before Stella McCartney launched her fashion house with the help of Gucci Group, now known as Kering, back in 2001 and has been in and out of fashion more than Gucci has had creative directors.
In an industry where synthetic fur is being used by high street brands including Topshop and Reiss, the question arises as to why it is so difficult for high-end designers to commit to the same fur-free policy.
Currently, the global fur trade is valued at $4 billion worldwide and continues to rise as demand for fur increases. More than 85% of all fur comes from fur farms where animals are kept until needed and then killed for their skins. Animals rights organisation PETA is dedicated to raising awareness of animal cruelty within the fashion industry and encourages consumers to opt for cruelty-free clothing and accessories, preventing the barbarous treatment of animals and the environment. There is no wonder why fashion houses and labels, including Gucci, felt the pressure to change the way in which their clothing is made.
Gucci’s CEO Marco Bizzarri talking at the London College of Fashion said that it is “our absolute commitment to making sustainability an intrinsic part of our business”. With Gucci now owned by luxury group Kering, it is assumed that there was also influence exerted. Kering is also the owner of Stella McCartney and they put sustainability at the forefront of their brand, opening a new chapter with an aim to ‘craft a more sustainable luxury by 2025‘. This means that they will push the use of natural resources and diminish the use of chemicals which pollute the environment as well as handling fur.
Fur is used for items that aren’t a necessity to us; animals are being harmed simply for a want and not a need.
Bizzarri has also announced that Gucci will also become part of international group, Fur Free Alliance which campaigns on alternatives to fur within the fashion industry. Other fashion giants including Hugo Boss, Armani and Net-a-Porter are also part of the fur-free retailer programme.
British model and writer-turned-fashion designer, Alex Chung, launched her own fashion label earlier this year and was praised by PETA for ensuring her collection was free of fur, exotic skins, and angora. Having designers go fur-free may send ripples among the fashion world and we hope that other brands will follow suit like Alexa, Stella and Gucci but it’s a wonder to many as to why it is so difficult.
With this announcement from Gucci, it is now expected that this will transform the way fur and sustainable fashion is viewed amongst other luxury labels in a bid to change the future of fashion. Dior, Chanel, and YSL still use leather and fur for items that aren’t a necessity to us, meaning animals are being harmed simply for a want and not a need.