Kering, the French luxury conglomerate that owns the brands, quietly made the revelation last week through its 2020 Universal Registration Document, which noted that “Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and McQ also no longer use fur in their collections.”
Most of Kering’s subsidiaries, the document went on to say, have eschewed the material, including Gucci, which banned the use of furs since its spring/summer 2018 collection, and Bottega Veneta, which hasn’t used fur in two decades. With Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga joining their ranks, only Saint Laurent and Brioni are the remaining holdouts in Kering’s stable not to develop fur-free policies.
The Humane Society of the United States says it has been working with Kering and its brands for more than a decade to phase out the use of mink, chinchilla, fox, sable, stoat, rabbit and more.
“Every time a big fashion name like Alexander McQueen or Balenciaga goes fur-free, it sends a clear message that fur has no place in a modern society,” Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, said in a statement. “This is a statement that consumers care more about sustainable solutions than the fur trim on a bag or a coat. We look forward to continuing our work with Kering, and the rest of the industry, to ensure that humane and innovative materials are the future of fashion.”
Balenciaga hinted about its new direction in December when it released its fall 2021 collection in the form of a video game called “Afterworld,” which included a puffer jacket laser-cut to “mimic the movement of a fur jacket” because “animal fur is no longer appropriate for people to buy new,” it said.
Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga are only the latest in a string of high-end, high-profile companies to nix fur amid what animal-rights advocates consider a sea change in attitudes regarding animal welfare. Recent years have seen Armani, Burberry, Chanel, DKNY, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors, Prada and Versace declare the material verboten. In 2019, Macy’s said that neither its flagship store nor Bloomingdale’s will sell fur. Nordstrom, too, has promised to halt the sales of fur and exotic animal-skin merchandise by the end of 2021.
Bans have been enacted on a broader scale, too, with San Francisco, Los Angeles and then California as a whole outlawing fur sales. Other states are considering similar legislation, as is the United Kingdom, where lawmakers have been hearing growing calls from citizens to ban fur sales across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide, or equal to three animals dying every second, the Humane Society estimates.