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Gucci boss pledges label to go fur-free in 2018

Italian fashion house Gucci is to go fur-free from next year and will be auctioning off all of its remaining animal fur items, the label’s president and chief executive Marco Bizzarri announced at the 2017 Kering Talk at the London College of Fashion.

Gucci joins a host of the luxury fashion labels and retailers including Armani, Hugo Boss, Yoox Net-a-Porter, Ralph Lauren, and Stella McCartney, which is also owned by luxury conglomerate Kering, and will become part of the international Fur Free Retailer Program, an initiative from the Fur Free Alliance, an international group of more than 40 organisations that campaigns on animal welfare and promotes alternatives to fur in the fashion industry.

“Sustainability is a big issue in a corporation, especially in fashion. We are not perfect, but we are doing our best to improve what we are doing,” said Bizzarri. “Sustainability to me is to make a company like Gucci, sustainable or recyclable, as well to create an environment for everyone to live well, to earn a proper salary.”

Bizzarri added: “Today the world is changing so fast, it’s not even an option not to change.”

One of the big announcements that came from the Kering Talk was the fact that Gucci will become fur-free with its spring-summer 2018 collection, a move that came about thanks to Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, who was appointed in 2015, said Bizzarri, who he expressed has “a shared belief in the importance of the same values”.

Bizzarri added: “Being socially responsible is one of Gucci’s core values, and we will continue to strive to do better for the environment and animals. With the help of Humane Society International and LAV, Gucci is excited to take this next step and hopes it will help inspire innovation and raise awareness, changing the luxury fashion industry for the better.”

Commenting on the news, Kitty Block, president of Humane Society International, said: "Gucci going fur-free is a huge game-changer. For this powerhouse to end the use of fur because of the cruelty involved will have a huge ripple effect throughout the world of fashion.

“A staggering one hundred million animals a year still suffer for the fur industry, but that can only be sustained for as long as designers continue to use fur and consumers purchase it. So we commend Gucci's compassionate decision, and for helping to ensure that the future of fashion is fur-free.”

Gucci boss pledges label to go fur-free in 2018

Gucci to go fur-free from spring/summer 2018

Gucci’s fur-free policy will include mink, coyote, raccoon dog, fox, rabbit, and karakul (otherwise known as Swakara, Persian lamb or astrakhan) and all others species specially bred or caught for fur. The Italian fashion label will instead replace its fur products with pieces made of faux-fur, wool and new fabric innovations.

As part of the change, the fashion house’s remaining animal fur items will be sold at auction, with the proceeds going to the animal rights organisations Humane Society International and LAV.

Joh Vinding, chairman of Fur Free Alliance, added: “Gucci’s new fur free policy marks a game-changer for the whole luxury fashion industry to follow. Gucci is taking a bold stand for animals, showing the world that the future of fashion is fur-free.”

PETA, which has long been critical of Gucci’s use of fur in its collections, released a statement from president Ingrid Newkirk stating: "After more than 20 years of PETA protests against Gucci's kangaroo-fur loafers and seal-fur boots, Gucci has finally pledged to join Armani, Ralph Lauren, and Stella McCartney in the ranks of fur-free fashion houses.

"The writing was on the wall: Today's shoppers don't want to wear the skins of animals who were caged, then electrocuted or bludgeoned to death. Until all animal skins and coats are finally off the racks of clothing stores worldwide, PETA will keep up the pressure on the clothing and fashion industry."

Gucci commits to female empowerment with Unicef donation

The move is part of the luxury brand’s wider 10-year ‘Culture of Purpose’ sustainability plan, which is focused on three major pillars: environment, humanity, which focuses on the welfare of its employees through gender equality, diversity, and inclusion, and ‘new models’, an incubator that will promote innovation within the company.

The approach, Bizzarri explained is making “sustainability an intricate part” of the Gucci business.

In addition, the fashion house also confirmed that it is to donate 1 million euros as a founding partner of Unicef's Girls Empowerment Initiative to fund teenage education and health drives. The moves comes as Bizzarri added that over 60 percent of Gucci’s employees are women and that gender diversity was a priority for the luxury label.

Images: courtesy of Kering