Hardly any animal suffering is bigger than the one in the fur industry. Millions of animals die every year worldwide for their fur. Under catastrophic conditions minks, chinchillas and squirrels are kept in tiny cages to become coats, scarves and jackets. Meanwhile, there are high-quality artificial and vegetable fibers instead of animal textile materials. Here’s a look inside the topic of alternative materials and "cruelty-free".
Only two years ago, Alessandro Michele, creative director at Gucci, launched the famous Gucci slippers with kangaroo fur. Another slipper was lined with lambskin. For many years, many of the Gucci models walked over the catwalk with fur coats. Also in the last collection you could catch on several pieces with fur. However, this “accessory” now becomes history. As announced four weeks ago, Gucci works without fur from now on:
“With the help of HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) and LAV (an Italian animal rights organization), Gucci is excited to take this next step and hopes. It will help inspire innovation and raise awareness, changing the luxury fashion industry for the better", said Marco Bizzarri, CEO of Gucci.
Gucci's remaining animal fur items will be sold at an auction. The proceeds are going to Humane Society and the Italian animal rights organization LAV. Together with Fur Free Alliance (FFA) the organization is one of the largest animal welfare organizations in the world. They fight against the suffering of the animals in every way – first of all in the world of fashion, in which they try to be a strong voice for the animals. However, the problem of many other fashion houses is of course the tradition behind the fur. But this so-called tradition, which is also associated with the production, has nothing to do with the original use of it. Mass production put this value into the background. Therefore, it doesn’t seem contemporary anymore, to define luxury by fur.
A Step In The Right Direction
In terms of fur, several designers have already taken the important – and especially the right – step before Gucci did. Last year, the Italian Designer Giorgio Armani committed to stop the use of fur in his collections. According to him, technological progress means that animal cruelty is no longer justified. The US-American label Calvin Klein went fur-free already in 1994. Tommy Hilfiger and Hugo Boss have joined over the years. Last June, the online shopping platform "Net-a-Porter" also committed to renounce on real fur. Moreover, Vogue Paris dedicated this year's August issue exclusively to wildlife and pleaded for a fur-free future. Along with this topic, cover star Gisele Bündchen posed in a fake fur coat with a baby kangaroo in her hand. Of course, an interview with the British designer Stella McCartney was a must for the special edition. The daughter of the former Beatles, Paul McCartney is a vegan since her childhood. The animal rights activist never uses leather or fur in her collections.
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Fake but Good
Even Hannah Weiland, founder of the British fashion label Shrimps doesn’t use any animal materials. Her designs are almost indispensable on the streets of the fashion metropolises. "I don’t understand why you have to wear real fur, when fake fur exists right now – it's just as soft and warm, it keeps the color even better and it doesn’t get dusty." Also, many fashion houses, such as Zara, H&M, Asos, Zalando and COS have dedicated themselves to make fashion without fur. The website Fur Free Retailer has a checked list of the most diverse labels which don’t use real fur.
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The Right Accessory
Many accessory labels use exclusively vegan leather based on natural fibers in their products. One of many examples is the Canadian label "Matt & Nat". For more than ten years, they have been promoting their high quality footwear, backpacks and pet-friendly materials. Of course, beauty products should not be missing when there is talk about "Cruelty Free". Animal testing is still a thing in many countries worldwide. Countless cosmetic products are tested in laboratories on rabbits, rats and monkeys – just to name a few of the many animals that have to experience torture for the human beauty. Actually, this kind of suffering should not be an issue nowadays.
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Fortunately, there are also positive examples: H&M completely abstains from animal experiments. With their Animal Welfare Policy, the fashion label explains that they refuse anything with ethically incorrect fashion – so is the motto for their beauty products. Well, the French cosmetic brand Sephora acts a role model for animal friendly makeup as well. The American tattoo artist and animal welfare activist Kat von D has been designing a beauty line for the group since 2008. Today, all of these products are vegan. Thanks to the great reach of Sephora, they belong to the most well-known vegan cosmetic products. One of the pioneers in "cruelty-free" beauty is the Australian brand "Adorn Cosmetics", which has been vegan for almost ten years. Other names that follow these examples can be found on the list of the largest animal welfare organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). So Apparently, Gucci was not the first brand to turn rethinking into action. Nevertheless, the decision of the Italian fashion house represents a force that will hopefully attract many other labels, because there are way enough fake fur friendly alternatives.