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Hudson’s Bay Flees Fur Following PETA Push  

Hudson’s Bay is the latest retailer to change its fur policy after a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaign.

The department store chain confirmed to PETA that it’s no longer selling products made with animal fur, joining sister brands Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off 5th in eliminating these goods from their assortment.

Whether or not this decision was made in response to the more than 100,000 emails PETA supporters sent to the company, the animal rights organization is taking the win.

“Fur belongs on the animals who grew it, not on collars and coats,” Tracy Reiman, PETA executive vice president, said in a statement. “Hudson’s Bay has come a long way from its fur-trading origins, and compassionate consumers and PETA are celebrating the company’s decision to join the vast majority of the fashion world in saying goodbye to the cruel fur industry.”

In 2021, Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off 5th independently announced they would stop selling fur of any kind by the end of fiscal year 2022 in response to changing customer attitudes, and close all “fur salons” by the end of fiscal 2021. Collaborating with vendor partners is key to phasing out fur products online and in stores by the end of fiscal 2022.

“As a leading authority for fashion in the luxury off-price space, we are committed to delivering a relevant assortment that aligns with the values of our customers and the communities we serve,” Molly Taylor, chief merchant at Saks Off 5th, said. “We continue to leverage consumer preferences to inform our decisions and overarching strategy, and the sale of fur is a timely social issue. The decision to eliminate fur from our assortment is a proactive and powerful stance for us to take for our business and society at large.”

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Saks fur-free policy states that it doesn’t offer products from animals raised for the use of their fur, including but not limited to mink, fox, chinchilla and sable, as well as fur products derived from wild animals such as coyote and beaver. It will continue the sale of faux fur products and items that include leather, down/feathers, sheepskin, lambskin, goatskin or cattle hide.

The Bay joins hundreds of retailers including Macy’s and Nordstrom and designers like Calvin Klein and Valentino in banning fur. Even New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is seeing the decline of the once regularly featured material; fashion search engine Tagwalk found a 644 increase in faux fur on the runway during 2022’s men’s fall/winter shows. Luxury e-tailers like Moda Operandi and Farfetch have declared verboten fur as well.  

PETA is urging LVMH to follow suit. So far, more than 76,000 supporters have asked Fendi’s owner to cut ties with the fur trade.

But a fur-free future may be in store for the luxury conglomerate. Last April, LVMH, Fendi, Imperial College London and Central Saint Martins University Arts London announced a research-driven collaboration to prototype new bio-textiles to potentially replace animal-derived fur. The two-year initiative will use keratin to develop lab-grown fur fibers for luxury fashion.

“We absolutely respect all opinions and sensitivities on the subject of fur. We have decided to give our houses the opportunity to continue using them in order to offer our customers who wish to wear fur items made in the most ethical and responsible way possible,” a spokesperson for LVMH told Sourcing Journal. “The fur sector is already largely regulated by both government and industry standards, which put public health, animal welfare and sustainability at the heart of their concerns. The group supports these initiatives and is actively involved in all efforts in the sector to achieve the highest possible standards in these areas.”

Though the days when a mink stole was the ultimate status symbol are long gone and Gen Z might not be begging grandma for her vintage fur coat, most of these young consumers aren’t too bothered by the idea of wearing garments made with the products of animals slaughtered for hair.

In 2021, Statista found that 58 percent of Americans between the ages of 35 and 54 stated that wearing clothes made of animal fur was morally acceptable, making this the age group with the highest support for fur fashion. But there wasn’t a huge difference between the groups; 55 percent of those between 18 and 34 said donning fur is fine. Surprisingly, those 55 and older had the lowest support at 52 percent. A 2022 survey by the market and consumer data platform found that Gen Z named quality as the most important aspect when they’re choosing apparel, even beating out comfort. Ethical considerations, such as animal welfare, scored comparatively low.

Hudson’s Bay did not immediately respond to Sourcing Journal’s request for comment.