Animal fur is one of the high-priced raw material used in the production of high-end fashion products. The material has been used since time immemorial in human clothing. In recent times, inhuman practices in the fashion industry have come to the forefront including the perceived cruelty to animals and the unethical rearing of animals for the production of fur.
Animal fur in fashion and the growing consciousness
According to many animal rights’ associations, nearly one billion rabbits, 4 million foxes and 50 million minks are bred and killed for the sole purpose of producing fur from these animals. Both the breeding, rearing and killing practices have been labelled as inhuman and barbaric by most activists around the world. China has been the largest exporter of animal fur in the world and widely criticized for its alleged unethical killing of animals including cats and dogs.
Animal fur has remained in popular culture and fashion; especially, in its usage as a luxury textile. It is considered as a symbol of social and economic status because of its cost and rarity.
However, with the turn of the century, a lot of impetus is being laid on the production of ethical and conscious clothing sans the cruelty to animals on moral and ethical grounds for the sake of fashion.
After years of protests against the rampant use of animal fur in fashion, many animal rights activists have finally found some relief as many high-end fashion brands have gone fur-free. The move has been welcomed by authorities, activists, fashion industries and the general masses alike. Some of the leading names in fashion retail that have gone fur-free include Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Gucci.
Recent trends in the fur-free fashion revolution
Michael Kors, along with Jimmy Choo, is the most recent fashion brand to adopt a no-fur policy. Net-a-Porter is a popular luxury online shopping portal that has announced a no-fur policy across all of its e-commerce platforms.
A considerable work in this regard has been done by various animal welfare groups across the world. These include Born Free USA, part of the Fur Free Alliance, PETA and others.
One of the best examples of fur-free fashion is the popular London Fashion Week that welcomed fur-less fashion on its catwalk ramps. The event boasted of 86 percent of its shows to have featured completely fur-free fashion.
British designer-activist Stella McCartney’s introduced her fur-alternative label ‘Fur Free Fur’ featuring long-haired coats at the prestigious Paris Fashion Week.
The Road Ahead…
In spite of the efforts by animal welfare groups around the globe and fashion brands and retailers joining hands to fight the menace, a lot of work remains to be done in this regard. There are still many fashion retail brands who identify themselves with the prolific use of real fur in their products. The likes of Fendi, Dior, Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Canada Goose and Karl Lagerfeld further need to reevaluate their stance on the matter.
Human fabrics have been evolving and fashion takes the baton forward in bringing new trends and innovations in the industry. The use of alternative fur is one of the champion alternatives, pioneered by Stella McCartney. Therefore, fur-free designs are here to stay and it’s high time that luxury fashion brands embrace ethical fashion for good!
Mayank Mohindra is an author on apparel, textile and fashion industry. His articles are based on latest apparel industry news, textile news and/or analysis of the dynamics of global apparel trade, and fashion industry.