Fashion weeks in Amsterdam, Oslo, Melbourne and Helsinki have all banned the use of fur but Paris, Milan and New York leave it up to the discretion of the designers. However, an increasing number of brands are now choosing to swap real fur for faux versions in their collections.
Tracing the trend
Anti-fur activism can be traced back to the mid-eighties. In 1985, two activist groups, Trans Species Unlimited (TSU) and the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade (CAFT), coordinated the first non-violent civil disobedience activities protesting fur outside Macy’s stores, both in New York and in Sacramento, California.
The following year, George Cave and Cres Vellucci of TSU repeated the activities on the busiest shopping day of the year, 'Black Friday,' and 'Fur-Free Friday' was officially created and has taken place ever since.
Stella McCartney was a pioneer
Stella McCartney established herself as a leader of sustainable fashion. Since starting her company in 2001, McCartney has designed collections made entirely without leather or fur. However, it wasn't until 2015 that she felt comfortable using fur alternatives.
"Modern fake fur looks so much like real fur, that the moment it leaves the atelier no one can tell it’s not the real thing," McCartney once told the Guardian newspaper. "And I’ve struggled with that. But I’ve been speaking to younger women about it recently and they don’t even want real fur. So I feel like maybe things have moved on, and it’s time, and we can do fabrics which look like fur, if we take them somewhere else."
Major brands stop using animal fur
E-commerce giants Net-a-Porter and Farfetch both committed to stop retailing real fur in 2018. Following this decision, Chanel joined a lengthy list of brands including Gucci, Burberry and Versace, in announcing it would no longer use real fur. In the same year, following a series of meetings with PETA, Michael Kors announced that it would discontinue the use of all animal fur.
Givenchy’s faux fur coats stole the spotlight at the house’s FW18 show. Designer Claire Waight Keller perfected the realistic appearance of couture faux furs by drawing inspiration from the label’s ‘eighties archives, when the house was still under the direction of Hubert de Givenchy.
Starting with Gucci in 2017, most of French luxury group Kering’s fashion brands, including Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta and Alexander McQueen had already halted the use of fur with just Saint Laurent and Brioni, the only remaining brands to occasionally use it. This year, 2021, Kering announced that all of its brands would stop using animal fur, effective with the FW22 collections, to be shown in early 2022.House of Fluff
Kym Canter founded House of Fluff in 2017 with the aim of offering faux fur pieces that were much more desirable than those made of real fur.
"We want to eliminate the decision between beauty and morality by crafting cruelty-free fashion products that make you feel as good on the inside as you look on the outside. These unique products will not only keep you warm but cool. We may be all about the ethics, but we also love style".
Canter was aware that most animal-free furs contain non-biodegradable fibers such as polyester and acrylic and her goal was to offer animal-free fur products that do not contain synthetics. Over the past few years, House of Fur has developed some vegetable based fabrics including BIOFUR™, which is a collection of plant-based and recycled textiles that are able to biodegrade naturally or be fully machine recycled.
“Our plan for the future is to transition House of Fluff into a brand that only uses the most bio-efficient textiles on the market, and to strengthen our conviction as an innovation studio creating advancements in the discovery of animal-free, sustainable textiles. We do not want the afterlife of any product we make to add to the plastic pollution problem," says Canter.