With Donatella Versace’s recent announcement that her brand will become fur-free (she told The Economist’s 1843 magazine that she doesn’t “want to kill animals to make fashion”) and San Francisco becoming the largest US city to ban the sale of new fur pieces, cruelty-free fashion is making headlines—and there’s a whole army of designer labels that are already proudly shedding their (use of) fur.
The Italian fashion house was one of the most recent designers to make the move, with this year’s spring-summer range being their first fur-free collection. The brand’s president Marco Bizzarri made the announcement at a London College of Fashion talk in 2017, explaining that “being socially responsible is one of Gucci’s core values, and we will continue to strive to do better for the environment and animals”.
The American label announced they’d be flying the fur-free flag in a December 2017 press release, with the company’s chairman and CEO John D. Idol saying that “this decision marks a new chapter as our company continues to evolve its use of innovative materials.” There’s good news for Jimmy Choo fans too—since Kors owns the luxury shoe label, that means all Choo pieces will also go fur-free.
3. Stella McCartney
Right from the label’s launch in 2001, British designer—and lifelong vegetarian—Stella McCartney pledged never to use fur in any of her pieces. In fact, McCartney’s beliefs have made the label one of the most high-profile, ground-breaking advocates for cruelty-free fashion, with a commitment to never using leather, skin or feathers in her designs either. Instead, the brand has developed a revolutionary “Fur-Free Fur” alternative, which they believe demonstrates that “no animal needs to be harmed for fashion”.
4. Calvin Klein
One of the earliest converts to the cause, the all-American designer called a halt to his production of fur designs back in 1994. At the time, Klein told the New York Times that the decision was based on “my own reflections on the humane treatment of animals" and “the fact that the fur segment of our business simply did not fit with our corporate philosophy any longer."
The Italian fashion house made the change in 2016 after working with the Fur Free Alliance, a coalition of over 40 animal protection organisations focused on ending the fur trade. Armani stated that technological progress had allowed for alternative fabrics that “render the use of cruel practices unnecessary”, with the policy extending across his Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani and Armani Privé lines.
After discussions with the Fur Free Alliance, luxury German brand Hugo Boss completely dropped the use of fur in its collections in 2015. Bernd Keller, the creative director of sportswear, said in Hugo Boss’ 2014 Sustainability Report that by creating “friendly fur” and “friendly leather” products, they hoped to “inspire the present generation and especially the next generation with a new kind of luxury.”
The American fashion house made their fur-free commitment across all their clothing and homeware brands back in 2006, saying that “we feel that the time is right to take this action.” As part of their initiative, they also donated 1200 of their existing fur pieces to an international relief charity for distribution to people in need.
8. Vivienne Westwood
Given that she was at the forefront of the punk revolution, it’s no surprise that Dame Vivienne has done her bit to shake up the fashion scene by banning fur from her collections in 2007. She made the change after meeting with animal rights organisation PETA and learning about the suffering of animals raised for fur—even donating her brand’s last fur items, eight rabbit-fur handbags, to a wildlife sanctuary where they were used to comfort orphaned baby animals.
9. Tommy Hilfiger
Tommy Hilfiger was another brand that shed fur from its collection in 2007 following discussions with PETA. Fred Gehring, the corporation's CEO at the time, told fashion trade publication WWD that switching to a total faux fur policy would “guarantee our products live up to the integrity we promise our customers.”
This uber-cool London label is famed for its colourful collection of flamboyant fur coats—but they’re actually all fabulously faux and have been ever since the brand’s launch in 2013.
"I would not be interested to work with or wear real fur—I greatly value animals and am very conscious of my personal impact on their wellbeing,” Shrimps’ designer Hannah Weiland told i-D magazine, adding that “given how incredible modern technology is, you can now produce faux fur with the same level of softness, quality and warmth—which makes the argument for real fur much harder.”