The Italian brand has joined a growing number of high-end fashion houses adopting alternative textiles.
From spring 18 onwards, Italian fashion house Gucci will become a fur free brand. Gucci CEO, Marco Bizzari, announced the decision during the 2017 Kering talk at London College of Fashion, describing animal fur as “not modern.”
Bizzari claimed that the new approach to faux fur was made possible with the help of Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, who was appointed in 2015.
Designer brands’ use of real fur continues to spark debate. Lily Wrist, a fashion marketing student, says, “They can afford to spend the money on manufacturing and creating faux furs to make them an exact replica of the real thing, because they have such large profit margins for everything they sell. Why do we need to breed and kill real animals?”Gucci has previously sold real mink coats for over $40,000. Bizzari has chosen to auction the remaining real fur items stocked by the brand, and has pledged the money raised to animal charities Humane Society International and LAV.
A statement from Kitty Block, the President of Humane Society International, describes Gucci’s move to faux fur as a “compassionate decision” and “a game-changer.”
Block says, “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.”
Gucci will also join the Fur Free Alliance, an international organisation that includes over 40 animal protection associations. A statement from Joh Vinding, the Fur Free Alliance’s chairman, says, “For decades animals in the fur industry have been subjected to intense cruelty, living their entire lives in miserable, filthy cages.”
Vinding praises Gucci’s new policy, stating, “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.”
Gucci will be joining Stella McCartney – another Kering-owned fashion brand – in its zero-tolerance approach to animal furs. It joins numerous designer brands that have also chosen to step away from the use of real animal furs and skins, opting for alternative textiles.
Giorgio Armani stated in 2016 that with the technological advances in the textile industry there was no longer any justification to use real fur, leading to the brand’s decision to ban the use of real fur in their collections. Other fashion houses to have banned the use of real fur include Calvin Klein in 1994, and Vivienne Westwood, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren all in 2007.
The fur industry is estimated to be worth more than $40billion per year, and anti-fur protesters, such as PETA supporters, protest at fashion weeks globally to demonstrate and call for an end to the use of animal fur in the fashion industry.
The Financial Times reported that fur products contributed roughly €10 million annually in revenues to Gucci, therefore the financial impact of this decision is considered minimal for such a successful company.
Gucci is reported to have a net worth of $12.7 billion