French fashion house Chanel recently decided to ban use of fur and exotic animal skins in its collections, following pressure from animal rights campaigners and to maintain ethical standards. The company will restrain from producing garments and accessories made from animal fur and leathery skins such as crocodile, lizard and snake. According to Chanel, the decision was taken partially because it is not possible to obtain such products which meet the company’s principles.
The company also expects that the decision will provide an opportunity to create a new generation of top products. Popular brand Gucci had announced last year that it would not use mink, coyote, raccoon dog, fox or any other animal bred or caught for its fur. Italian designer Giorgio Armani announced in 2016 that his brands would not be using fur anymore, as a way to draw attention to the serious topics of preserving and caring for the environment and animals. The move has been welcomed wholeheartedly by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). They also claim that there is no longer a forceful demand for using animal products, as the developments in textile industry have made faux fur and vegan leather nearly identical to animal pelts and skins. According to PETA, leading brands like ASOS, Nike, Nine West, Puma and numerous others have already banned exotic skins.
Many brands have opted for fake fur, as the real product is widely considered to be unethical. Does this move reflect the changing attitude in fashion? Considering the fact that there are only certain brands that encourage the ban, should other brands follow the same path?
There are certain sections of critics who question the longevity of fake fur. There is also a need for brands using faux fur to be scrupulous in their sourcing to ensure top quality, and guarantee that their materials’ authenticity is maintained.
Find alternative for fur
Manjusha Radhakrishnan, fashion designer
I wholeheartedly welcome the ban on fur clothing and accessories. I remember the words said by Councilman Bob Blunenfield during a rally before the voting started for the ban: “The greatness of a nation can be judged by how its animals are treated”. Around 31 million animals are killed for fur in farms each year; the intensive confinement in these fur farms leads to self mutilation, cannibalism and a high-level stress which breaks down the animals’ immune system. The moment you ignore your existence as a wholesome creature, you’re at risk of losing balance in the ecosystem. With technological advancements in every sector, there is the possibility to find an alternative for animal fur. Fashion brands should pool in more money for research in this regard.
Create inclusive earth
Ninoy Rodrigues, pet lover
It is great to see compassion being shown towards our fellow beings, especially by a section of society that caters to superficial and materialistic needs. The decision taken by these major fashion brands that have an obvious influence on lifestyle would certainly have an impact on society, too. Therefore, we could be hopeful that these initiatives would play a vital role in helping society reflect on its choices and becoming more integrated in its views and actions towards creating a more inclusive planet, where all living beings are a part of the same family of life.
Synthetic is not all good
M. Ashaa Vigashini, creative director
2018 continues to see a huge trend in the ‘fur free’ campaigns from high-end fashion brands and as a designer, I’m curious to see the new generation of luxury products in alternation to fur and exotic skins. Contrary to expectations, growing support to this campaign has led to the demand and debate on faux fur having its own consequences. There can be negative unintended effects of using synthetic products (faux furs are predominantly made from polymeric fibers) over natural ones, consequently prioritising ethical values over environmental values. A more suitable approach would be to ban fur farming (killing of animals specifically for their fur) and utilising fur from animals used for their meat instead rabbits and lambs, for instance. And also, a kilogram of rabbit fur does less harm to the environment than a kilogram of polyester!
Can save many animals
Vaishali Ojha, businesswoman
I’m neither an activist, nor a political person, but a person with compassion. I care passionately about equal rights. I care about human rights. I care about animal rights and it’s super easy to be animal-friendly. Just buy cruelty-free products, don’t support animals in entertainment, volunteer at your local animal shelter and pledge to be fur-free. As per the Chanel’s new policy of not using animal skins in their future creations, Chanel is saving countless crocodiles, lizards, and snakes and the environment as well. The growth in luxury and eco-friendly fibres that don’t involve animals suffering and dying is definitely helping to drive forward this new era of fashion.
Fake fur won’t affect brand
Amy Billimoria, Fashion Designer
Yes, I think the fashion industry has come up with an appreciable move, which aims at curbing cruelty to animals and to our environment as a whole. Every industry should take such a stand because unless we start somewhere, we won’t make a difference. The authenticity of the decision can’t be questioned because there is a vast difference between fake fur and real fur. Using fake fur is not going to affect brand value because people buying them are helping the cause of animal welfare. There is no problem in using fake fur; it depends only on the aesthetic sense of the designer.
Preet Karnawal, PETA member
Being a proud member of PETA as well as a runway model, I appreciate the decision made by Chanel. Chanel is one of the oldest and biggest fashion houses, for its founder, its sophistication, and for essentially being a curator of all things chic. Their denouncement of animal skin and move towards environment-friendly designs is quite remarkable. This is not a question of making fashion industry happy; it’s about humanity. Fashion doesn’t need to be cruel and there should be equal rights for men, women and animals. It will be interesting to see if this change will stick, since this is not the first time that fur has swung out of favour. I truly welcome this and hope for the best from the fashion industry for welfare of animals.
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