Looking Towards A Fur-Free FutureImage Credit: Donnatella Versace
The high-end fashion world has always loved fur. Fur coats, fur hats, fur-lined boots – you name it, anything and everything that can be made out of fur, was. Long-acquainted with luxury and glamour, it is no wonder that mega-giant Versace is known for their iconic fur pieces. But no more! In the latest issue of the 1843 magazine, creative director Donatella Versace speaks out against the use of fur in future collections.
“Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.”Image Credit: Versace
Versace has become the most recent high fashion house to drop fur, following quickly behind competitor Gucci who have joined the Fur Free Alliance, an international organisation working towards an end to animal exploitation. However, this is by no means a new development. The controversial use of fur within the fashion industry has been a long-standing debate for years. It has garnered more attention recently as consumers have become aware of the unethical production of fur pieces, as well as its unsustainability for the planet.
More than 100 million animals are slaughtered every year for their pelts, after living short, miserable lives in cages. Unlike other farmed animals, these are natural predators and have gone through very limited domestication, so being cramped inside tiny cages causes extreme stress-related problems. Many end up with missing limbs and other deformities from self-mutilation, and even turn to cannibalism when trying to exhibit their natural behaviors. Not only do they live agonising lives, but they are often killed inhumanely in order to preserve their pelts. Gassing, anal electrocution and sometimes being skinned alive, are not abnormal ways of death.
Although more and more brands are dropping fur, one has to wonder why it took so long for it to happen. Calvin Klein took the plunge more than 20 years ago, with others like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren following suit a few years after. According to Nielsen’s statistical reports, it may be due to a change in consumer tastes. Millennials are driving brands to become increasingly ethical in their practices, and compared with previous generations, are more ethically conscious in their choices. The voices of Millennials cannot be ignored when they make up a sizeable portion of the fashion industry’s clientele.
So, the real question is, are designer brands becoming more ethically conscious, or is ethical fashion just becoming more ‘on trend’? Marco Bizzarri, CEO of Gucci, says, “Do you think using furs today is still modern? I don’t think it’s still modern and that’s the reason why we decided not to do that. It’s a little bit out-dated…Fashion has always been about trends and emotions and anticipating the wishes and desires of consumers.” Could this be the reason so many other brands are jumping on the fur-free train?
Regardless the reason, this change is pointing towards a brighter, fur-free future with the potential to create higher standards for the fashion industry. Many never thought they would see the day when glamorous fur became obsolete so who’s to say leather isn’t next? Fur bye!