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Say Goodbye to Ugg Alpaca Sweaters

Deckers Brands has committed to phasing out alpaca wool by fall 2023 following a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaign.

“Thanks to Deckers, countless alpacas won’t be pulled by the tail, yanked around and left bloodied from shearing,” Tracy Reiman, executive vice president of PETA, said. “PETA encourages all companies to make this compassionate decision, because alpaca fleece belongs only on the animals born with it.”

PETA’s undercover investigation allegedly showed workers mistreating animals, including pregnant ones, and roughly shearing them for their wool. They crudely stitched up the alpacas’ injuries before throwing them onto the concrete floor.

In September 2020, Deckers Brands published a document on its supply chain titled “Ethical Sourcing and Animal Welfare Policy.” The policy outlined that the Ugg parent company will adhere to Textile Exchange’s Responsible Alpaca Standard once it is finished being developed, likely to be available by the fall 2023 season. The standard will ensure that alpaca fiber comes from animals treated responsibly and that land and biodiversity have been managed appropriately. In the meantime, Deckers is “committed to tracing our alpaca back to the source and the source must certify their compliance with this Animal Welfare Policy,” the document said.

Ugg specifically has an animal welfare FAQ focused on sheepskin and the standards it has for its suppliers. The last question in the document asks what other type of animal hides Ugg uses, and the company stated that those materials are outlined at a specific URL, however, it brings viewers to a 404-error page. The company has updated its animal welfare webpage to say that it will not use any alpaca byproducts as of the fall season 2023. The brand currently sells four alpaca wool sweaters and cardigans.

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Ugg carries four sweaters made of an alpaca blend.

Deckers Brands, parent company to KoolaburraHokaTeva and Sanuk as well as Ugg, joins 70 other brands that have banned alpaca wool, including Uniqlo, Columbia and Ann Taylor.  

Now, PETA is calling on Anthropologie to ditch alpaca wool, with a website that “supporters” can visit to blast the URBN company with a plea to drop the fleece in favor of sustainable alternatives. Approximately 164,000 people have taken this action thus far, though it is unclear how long the webpage has been active. The pre-written letter on the webpage references the investigation at Mallkini, the world’s largest privately owned alpaca farm, in Peru. Mallkini is owned by the Michell Group, a huge exporter of alpaca yarn and a supplier of major brands, including Anthropologie. Williams-Sonoma, Uniqlo and Valentino were among the brands to flee alpaca in the wake of PETA’s probe.

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

PETA has previously come after Nike and Allbirds for their use of sheep wool, calling out Allbirds at the newly public company’s first annual meeting in June. Victoria’s Secret is the latest brand to ban an animal-derived material in the wake of a PETA investigation, having nixed cashmere earlier this month.