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Stella McCartney Spotlights Bio-Based Faux Fur at Paris Fashion Week

Stella McCartney is taking her brand’s commitment to sustainable and cruelty-free fashion to furry new heights.

The British luxury lifestyle brand, which parted ways with previous parent Kering before announcing a partnership with LVMH this summer, is the first to use plant-based Koba Fur-Free Fur in a fashion collection.

The faux fur produced by Ecopel—a subsidiary of Shanghai Haizin Group Co., Ltd., offering faux fur, accessories and home textiles—mimics the silken warmth of the real thing using a blend of recycled polyester and DuPont Sorona fibers. Its 37 percent plant-based composition is said to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent and emit 63 percent less greenhouse gas versus fur derived from animals. The even bigger accomplishment is that Koba just might be the first imitation fur to be created using biomaterials, the company claims.

“Stella McCartney has led the industry that is now increasingly moving away from the use of animal-based furs, and this collaboration allows both her cruelty-free and sustainability values to go hand in hand,” Renee Henze, global marketing director for DuPont Biomaterial, said. “With Koba faux fur, we expect to see the use of bio-based materials gain even greater use and acceptance in the textile and fashion industry.”

The designer herself hailed Koba as a “big step toward the future of fashion being sustainable and animal free.”

A report released earlier this year projects the market for artificial fur to exceed $129 million by 2023, and the advent of bio-based replicas could strengthen the case for faux, whose cruelty-free sustainability profile has suffered somewhat from its reliance on polyester materials that don’t biodegrade as easily as animal products.

In fact, Ecopel CEO Christopher Sarfati described embracing “the road less traveled” when developing alternative fur derived in part from nature. “We’ve been working with Stella McCartney for several years and we have clearly been positively influenced by her values,” he said, adding, “From recycled to bio-based, we are supporting a transition toward more sustainable materials.”

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Stella McCartney’s embrace of faux fur with a strong eco footprint comes as major players across the larger luxury sector have pledged to drop animal pelts from their collections, in line with growing consumer awareness of animal welfare issues.

Thirty-seven-year-old Russian catwalker Natalia Vodianova modeled Stella McCartney’s onyx prototype jacket featuring Koba faux fur and Alter-Nappa details at the brand’s Summer 2020 show at Paris Fashion Week last month. Stella McCartney Collections planned for 2020 will incorporate Koba trim, the company added.