In a March 2021 report released by parent company Kering, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga have pledged to go fur-free. This move has brought Kering closer to its initiative to be more animal-friendly and sustainable. In fact, the only two Kering brands to not have adapted the fur-free initiatives in their collections yet are Saint Laurent and Brioni.
Stopping the use of fur in its merchandise has become a big move in the luxury fashion apparel sector with giants like Chanel, Versace and Burberry pledging the same. It is a huge step towards sustainability as the use of fur is the farthest from being friendly to the environment. Not only is it cruel to animals, leading to an inhumane suffering and death of millions of animals each year, it is also a key contributor to pollution, water contamination, climate change and land devastation.
Firstly, the fur taken off the animals is not “natural” per se as it needs to be treated by a lot of chemicals before it can be sent for production into clothes and accessories. This directly leads to air and water contamination. Moreover, the horrific conditions in which the animals are reared is a huge cause for concern. Their unfair treatment and indiscriminate rearing results in disturbing behaviours and health problems such as untreated infections and wounds, missing limbs, cannibalism, dead animals left to rot between living animals and lack of (clean) drinking water. Worse yet, these animals are often murdered by gassing or electrocution. It is not a surprise that many countries, like the UK, are now banning fur farming, with several other countries in the EU following suit.
Perhaps it is not a surprise that big luxury brands are now jumping on the bandwagon of voluntarily giving up the use of fur. If the future looks to be fur-free, it makes sense for companies to anticipate an oncoming trend and execute willingness to be environmentally cautious, thereby building brownie points with their consumers instead of having to comply with laws and regulations. Or is it merely a humane move on their part which is getting distorted through the lenses of a critical perspective? It remains to be seen. Either way, the fact that popular brands are adapting to a more animal-friendly and sustainable approach will have a positive impact on the rest of the fashion world too as other companies get influenced to do the same, leading us into a greener future where animals are not harmed for the sake of capitalism or in the name of fashion.
By Anshita Bansal