Going fur free has become a major move among brands’ and retailers’ seeking to advance their sustainability agendas in 2017.
While animal welfare continues to become increasingly relevant among major apparel players and consumers continue to demand more ethical shopping options, more industry members are opting to omit angora, exotic skins and fur from their products. Here’s a look at the brands and retailers that committed to eliminating fur from their product ranges this year.
Luxury powerhouse Gucci omitted fur from its entire product value chain. At the 2017 Kering Talk, which took place at The London College of Fashion in October, Gucci announced that it will enact a fur-free policy, starting with its Spring 2018 collection. As part of its pledge to go fur-free, Gucci will no longer use coyote, dog, fox, karakul (also known as swakara, Persian Lamb or astrakhan) or any other animals that are bred or caught for fur. Gucci’s decision was praised by various animal right’s coalitions and groups, including the Humane Society of the United States (USUS), Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV), an animal rights organization based in Italy, and the Fur Free Alliance. HSUS and LAV, w are partners with Gucci, will continue work with the label on its animal welfare commitments.
VF Corp. unveiled its first-ever Animal Derived Materials Policy and said its brands, including The North Face and Timberland, will no longer use angora, exotic leather or fur in their apparel and footwear products. The company collaborated with both the U.S. and International arm of the Humane Society to develop the progressive policy, which outlines prohibited animal materials, features formal guidelines for procurement and use of approved materials by VF Corp.’s brands and its global supply chain partners. In November, VF Corp. also partnered with the Fur Free Alliance—which has a Fur Free Retailer Program that enables consumers to have access to brands’ fur policies and humane practices.
Yoox Net-a-Porter Group
Environmental impact has been part of Yoox Net-a-Porter Group’s greater sustainability agenda, and the online fashion retailer’s new fur-free policy is accelerating this commitment. In June, Yoox Net-a-Porter adopted a fur-free policy that omits all accessories, apparel and footwear made from animal fur. The policy builds upon Yoox Net-a-Porter’s 2016 Sustainability Report, which highlights the importance of human practices and collaboration for a better planet. In addition to its fur-free policy and ongoing partnerships with the Humane Society and LAV, Yoox Net-a-Porter became a member of the international Fur Free Retailer Program.
Burlington Coat Factory
Off-price tycoon Burlington Coat Factory made significant progress with its animal welfare commitments this year, including major adjustments to its real fur policy. In March, the retailer expressed that the humane treatment of animals was a critical part of its supply chain and said that it would limit the sale of any products made with real fur, including Angora, that are not pelts.
Following that statement, Burlington Coat Factory furthered its commitment to animal welfare, by restricting the procurement and sale of products with animal fur in fall 2017. The update noted that “real animal fur” includes any variety of animal pelts or material derived inhumanely from animals. Burlington has said that if it find any animal fur in its products, it will return the merchandise to the vendor or donate the merchandise to a charitable group.
Jimmy Choo & Michael Kors
Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors are joining the fur-free bandwagon. Michael Kors, which acquired Jimmy Choo this year, recently announced a new fur-free policy, which will curb the use of animal fur in its products. The move follows previous protests at Michael Kors’ boutiques and fashion shows by many animal welfare groups, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Any existing fur products manufactured will be phased out by the end of next December, as the company seeks to build its corporate responsibility presence and commit to animal welfare practices moving forward. Michael Kors will debut its innovative “fur free” apparel, accessories and footwear items at its February 2018 runway show.
Alexa Chung, the U.K. model and designer who recently launched her label, Alexachung, pledged to never use fur in her products. In May, the British fashion maven was recognized by PETA UK for her fur free commitment. Chung, who has previously worked with other U.K.-based retailers on design collaborations, is known for her cozy sweaters, silky viscose dresses and vegan faux-fur outerwear. Additionally, Chung said she would not include angora or exotic skins in the collection’s apparel, accessories and footwear items.
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