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Hugo Boss to go 'Fur-Free' by the end of 2016

By Vivian Hendriksz

7 Jul 2015

Premium fashion label Hugo Boss has made a pledge to go completely fur-free from its Autumn/Winter 2016 Collections onwards following a series of talks with The Fur Free Alliance - a decision that has been well received by leading animal protection charity the Humane Society International, who is also part of the Alliance.

"Hugo Boss has become a leader in the fashion world by taking a stand against animal cruelty and ending the use of fur in collections," said Joh Vinding, Chairman of the Fur Free Alliance. "The Fur Free Alliance hopes other luxury brands will follow Hugo Boss’s lead, especially since there are now so many cruelty-free alternatives that are fashionable and indistinguishable from the real thing."

Hugo Boss joins a growing list of brands and retailers who have pledged to stop using fur in their collections, including Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Zalando. The German fashion label's decision to stop using rabbit and raccoon dog fur in its collection was cemented in the group Sustainability Report 2015, published last month. Bernd Keller, creative and brand director Sportswear at Hugo Boss, explained in the report that their decision was also linked to a survey previously conducted to learn more about their customers expectations. In particular quality and sustainability, concerning animal rights and protection, ranked high.

Hugo Boss to stop using fur in future collections to show luxury can integrate ethical issues

"If we connect our quality requirements with sustainability, our customers receive a special statement which they are able to pass on: luxury imbedded with values," commented Keller. "Contemporary customers are part of a generation which is re-evaluating their ethical and fundamental values. We want to include this generation among Hugo Boss consumers. We demonstrate through our products that premium and luxury are able to integrate ethical and environmental issues... Today, we are therefore also successfully supplying “friendly fur” and “friendly leather” products." Hugo Boss choice to remove fur from future collections has been applauded by the Humane Society International.

"Hugo Boss's firm commitment to go completely fur-free sends a really powerful message to other luxury brands, that animal cruelty is never fashionable," noted Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK. "Every designer or fashion label that features real fur contributes to normalising what is in actual fact a grotesque industry. It's all too easy to forget that behind every fur trim collar or gilet lies the pain and suffering of once living, breathing animals. So by setting a new trend of compassion, Hugo Boss is showing that it is never acceptable for animals to die for the catwalk, and that's a fashion craze we really hope other luxury brands will follow."

Julie Sanders, Country Manager for Four Paws UK, a member of the Fur Free Alliance, added: "We are delighted that Hugo Boss have taken this massive step towards a more ethical and compassionate approach to their products, particularly as it comes at a time when there are signs that fur is actually becoming more popular again. We hope that this decision from one of the world’s most renowned fashion brands will create a sea-change and encourage other fashion companies to adopt a similar approach and end their involvement in this unnecessary cruelty."

Hugo Boss goes 'fur-free' ahead of fur-filled Haute Couture Week in Paris

Hugo Boss's decision to go fur free comes as Paris Haute Couture Week begins, which will see numerous designer labels presenting Autumn/Winter '15-'16 collections adorned with fur. On Wednesday Italian fashion house Fendi will present its debut couture collection which is based on its history with fur, led by creative director Karl Lagerfeld. The show, which has been named 'Haute Fourrure' celebrates the longest relationship between a brand and a designer in the industry. Although many have attempted to appeal to the designers for his ongoing use of fur, including film icon Brigitte Bardot together with Peta, Lagerfeld remains steady-fast with his current opinion on the use of fur in the fashion.

"It's very easy to say no fur, no fur, no fur, but it's an industry," he said in an interview with the New York Times earlier this year. "Who will pay for all the unemployment of the people if you suppress the industry of the fur?...For me, as long as people eat meat and wear leather, I don't get the message. I'm very sympathetic. I hate the idea of killing animals in a horrible way, but I think all that improved a lot. I think a butcher shop is even worse. It's like visiting a murder. It's horrible, no? So I prefer not to know it."

Although Lagerfeld and other designer labels would rather remain in the dark in regards to how an animal is killed for its fur, the Humane Society International highlights that the most common methods to kill fur animals in Europe, which include minks, foxes, racoons, rabbits and chinchillas include being gassed to death in killing boxes and anal electrocution.