Versace goes fur-free! Is fashion becoming more ethical? 🙅🦊🌍
Designers and retailers are being pressured more and more by the public and especially by animal rights groups to give up fur. Versace is now the latest luxury fashion house to officially go fur-free, joining Armani, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, and others. Last month, at London Fashion Week, according to PETA, which is the largest animal rights organization in the world, 95% of the brands didn’t use fur in their collections. This included Burberry, which went for faux fur with it’s majestic finale’s piece, a rainbow faux fur coat. Some of the brands are turning their backs on fur to join faux fur - which doesn’t make it more ethical, and that leads us to the fur debate. Both sides are trying to get the consumers and brands to support them, giving away the positive arguments but the negative aspects, that are just as important, go unnoticed. But onto the ‘good’ news first!
Finally, Versace joining the movement!
Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Senior Vice President Dan Mathews said in an emailed statement that it was “a major turning point in the campaign for compassionate fashion”, he also manifested his enthusiasm in seeing a “leather-free Versace next”. Which we are also looking forward to see, considering Versace’s symbolize excess and glamour with collections field with statement fur creations, for example during Autumn/Winter 2017 show where an orange fur coat caught everyone’s attention.
Furla is another name who recently announced that will stop using fur. People are claiming that is clear the fashion industry is starting to embrace a more ethical and sustainable existence. We wouldn’t celebrate it just yet! The brand also mentioned that will be replacing all fur with faux fur starting from its Cruise 2019 collection.
“The Great Fur Debate” hosted by The Business of Fashion gives a better understanding of what fur and faux fur stand for, in this debate you have the opportunity to hear two opposite informed arguments. Supporting real fur is Frank Zilberkweit stating “The byword is sustainable, (…). When you make a faux fur, you are making a petrochemical product that is not biodegradable. Our industry is about raising animals in a natural way, a kind way and it’s a renewable resource.” He also argued that claiming a difference between wearing fur and wearing other animal-based materials, such as leathered sheepskin is “rather illogical”. His opponent is PJ Smith who says “While that’s all happening faux fur is getting better and better,” and goes on talking about companies working to create lab-grown fur along the same lines as lab-grown leather.
As one becomes more informed about this issue it becomes harder to pick a side. Either fur or faux fur are prejudicial to the environment. There are endless arguments between pro and anti-fur camps, about which is more eco-friendly. Wearing fur undoubtedly harms animals. However, faux-fur undoubtedly harms the environment, especially marine life, unless it’s made from organic materials (cotton, bamboo, or hemp). Companies like M. Patmos, are making eco-friendly fake furs from wool, alpaca and other natural animal fibres which don’t harm the animal at all, and the fibres don’t need tanning and can be vegetable dyed. Also, the biggest name in sustainable luxury fashion, Stella McCartney, which never uses leather, skin, fur or feathers, using alternative materials instead. And then, there are other brands worth checking out, who are also contributing for a healthier planet, such as, Zady’s, a brand selling good quality long-lasting without high environmental and social cost; Zara launched last year a sustainable collection in response to consumer demand for more ethical fashion; Elizabeth Suzann, who sells elegant pieces made from timeless natural fibers; and also Chinti and Parker, which is the place for organic cashmere.
What about Vintage Fur?!
This would be in fact the most eco-gentlest. Either vintage fur or buying from companies who stringently inspect animal welfare and use natural dyeing and tanning methods, such as Valentino and companies in the Gucci Group.
Going vintage doesn’t really contribute to the profits of modern fur farms, and are less toxic to the environment than faux fur. Plus, you might have a glamorous vision of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but vintage fur go for a fraction of the cost of the ones that are being made today.
Some hopes for the future.
It’s safe to say there is a movement that started about 3 years ago when major brands started turning their backs on fur for a ‘greater good’. But it’s also clear that luxury brands like Versace are more concerned on keeping up with trends rather than being ethical. If tomorrow’s mood is fur and if that’s what sells, they will follow it.
In the same time, there are brands that are built with a genuine concern for the environment and the animals. And those are the real game changers, who are always looking to innovate in order to make fashion a better industry.
📝Written by Catarina Botelho
Credits Photos: Burberry, Vogue, Etsy