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‘The World Has Changed’: Kering Officially Goes Fur Free

It’s official: Beginning fall 2022, every single brand in Kering’s luxury stable will be fur-free.

“For many years, Kering has sought to take the lead in sustainability, guided by a vision of luxury that is inseparable from the very highest environmental and social values and standards,” François-Henri Pinault, the French conglomerate’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement Friday. “The time has now come to take a further step forward by ending the use of fur in all our collections. The world has changed, along with our clients, and luxury naturally needs to adapt to that.”

The move wasn’t a wholly unexpected one. Kering’s subsidiaries have been steadily moving away from wild-caught and farmed fur from minks, foxes, coyotes, chinchillas and other animals. Bottega Veneta, for example, hasn’t used fur in two decades, while Gucci shed the material with the launch of its spring/summer 2018 collection. In March, Kering quietly noted through its 2020 Universal Registration Document that Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and McQ “no longer use fur in their collections.” Only Brioni and Saint Laurent hadn’t developed fur-free policies. This will no longer be the case.

“When it comes to animal welfare, our group has always demonstrated its willingness to improve practices within its own supply chain and the luxury sector in general,” Pinault added.

Animal-rights campaigners cheered Kering’s decision, declaring it a major blow to the fur trade and placing pressure on fashion’s dwindling number of fur holdouts. The list of other fur-eschewing brands reads like a veritable Who’s Who of the industry: Armani, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Canada Goose, Chanel, Diane von Furstenberg, DKNY, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Jimmy Choo, John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld, Mackage, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, Tory Burch, Valentino, Versace, Victoria Beckham and Vivienne Westwood have all declared fur verboten, as have retailers Arnotts, Brown Thomas, Farfetch, Holt Renfrew, Macy’s, Mytheresa, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Selfridges and Yoox/Net-a-Porter.

In June, Israel made history as the first country in the world to outlaw fur sales altogether. Last month, Ann Arbor in Michigan became the seventh municipality in the United States—and the third outside California after Wellesley and Weston in Massachusetts—to nix fur sales.

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“The future is clearly fur-free and now one of the world’s largest luxury fashion conglomerates agrees,” Kitty Block, CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States and CEO of Humane Society International, said in a statement. “As markets around the globe close their doors to fur products opting instead for innovative humane products, it makes complete sense for a power fashion house like Kering to make this ethical decision. We couldn’t be more proud of our long-standing relationship with Kering and its brands and look forward to continuing our work with them to pave the way for a kinder fashion world.”

Meanwhile, a group of British lawmakers is urging the U.K. government to ban the sale and import of fur. “It’s now time that we end the double-standard of having a ban on fur farming, whilst importing the same cruelty from overseas,” Conservative Member of Parliament Christian Wakeford said in a Westminster Hall debate earlier this month. “The fur industry would appear to me to be an industry that is outmoded and out of touch with modern values and principles of the humane treatment of animals, and I implore my Parliamentary colleagues to join me in condemning it to the history books as we have done for so many other cruel and archaic treatments of animals.”

News of widespread mink cullings in Denmark due to fears over a mutated version of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, has also accelerated calls to end fur farms. Some experts believe their crowded, unhygienic conditions can serve as breeding grounds for new viruses.

Among the brands still clinging to fur, the most prominent include Fendi, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton. All are subsidiaries LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which recently partnered with the International Fur Federation to create Furmark, a global certification and traceability system designed to uphold animal welfare and environmental standards throughout the fur supply chain. Fur’s critics say, however, that Furmark is a last gasp of relevancy from an industry in decline, at least in the West.

“Kering is synonymous with luxury fashion, and with this announcement, it marks a new era for what is considered luxury to now include what is socially responsible, ethical and innovative,” PJ Smith, director of fashion policy for the Humane Society of the United States, added. “We hope the rest of the fashion industry will take notice choosing compassion and innovation over an outdated idea of luxury.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which had previously purchased stock in Kering to urge the company to drop fur, also celebrated the about-turn from an old adversary.

“PETA supporters who sent tens of thousands of letters to Kering, protested outside a Saint Laurent store or doused then-Gucci designer Tom Ford with tomato juice can celebrate today’s announcement that all Kering brands are going fur-free,” PETA president Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement. “Nobody with a heart will wear fur, no designer with any sense will touch it, and any fashion house still selling it in 2021 is an embarrassment.”