The anti-fur bandwagon shows no signs of stopping.
The latest to climb aboard? Neiman Marcus Group, which announced Wednesday that it’ll be axing animal pelts from its rarified Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman assortments by early 2023. The department-store operator, which entered then emerged from bankruptcy last year, will also be shuttering all its fur salons, which it will convert into spaces “customized for modern luxury experiences.”
The move is part of a broader environmental, social and governance strategy that includes bolstering animal welfare as one of its North Stars, Neiman Marcus said. In April, the company staffed up its first dedicated ESG team, including a vice president and two managers, who will be working with third-party consultants to identify key priorities, set time-bound goals and invest in competitive opportunities that will “bring ultimate luxury to life” through curated sustainable and ethical products.
“We are delivering an ultimate luxury experience for our customers and their evolving preferences. We are updating our assortment to feature multiple sustainable and ethical luxury fashion categories,” Geoffroy van Raemdonck, CEO of Neiman Marcus Group, said in a statement. “It is clear the future is fur-free, and that includes the ultra-luxury space. As a leader in luxury retail, NMG has an opportunity to help build a better future for our industry.”
Neiman Marcus partnered with the Humane Society of the United States to “exit fur” and draft an animal welfare policy that aligns with Fur Free Alliance guidelines.
“Fur-free policies help forge a more humane world for animals by challenging the fur trade head-on and eliminating the demand for its products, making production economically unviable,” said Kitty Block, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “For a top luxury retailer like Neiman Marcus to now join the campaign for a more humane world is a nod to all those who have been fighting against fur for so long. Together, with compassion and perseverance, we are making a difference for so many animals.”
The decision to phase out the material has been years in the making, agreed Tracy Reiman, vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which hurled the “Neiman Carcass” epithet at the department store in the mid-’80s.
“After decades of pressure from relentless grassroots activists and PETA, Neiman Marcus Group will end fur sales at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goldman,” Tracy Reiman, vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a statement. “Many thousands of animals will be spared from being electrocuted, gassed and beaten to death. We are sure the company will move more quickly to end fur sales than the stated end goal as no one wants to be caught dead in fur anymore.”
Despite protestations by the International Fur Federation, which recently claimed that the global fur retail trade is still worth $20.1 billion, indicating a “strong bounce-back since Covid-19 pandemic,” the fur-free zeitgeist has only gained strength over the past year. Earlier this month, Israel became the first nation to outlaw the sale of the material. Brands such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Canada Goose and Valentino have also decided to join Armani, Burberry, Chanel, DKNY, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Macy’s, Michael Kors, Prada, Versace and others in cutting fur loose.
“Our focus has always been on making products that deliver exceptional quality, protection from the elements, and perform the way consumers need them to; this decision transforms how we will continue to do just that,” Dani Reiss, president and CEO of Canada Goose, said last week. “We continue to expand—across geographies and climates—launching new categories and products designed with intention, purpose and functionality. At the same time, we are accelerating the sustainable evolution of our designs.”
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.