Mink coats? Python pumps? Ostrich bags? Thank U, Next. In a surprising move, Chanel has announced that it will no longer use exotic animal skins in any of its designs, taking the recent fur-free trend to the next level. Chanel joins a long list of luxury brands and retailers who have pledged to adopt cruelty-free practices.
“The future of high-end products will come from the know-how of what our atelier is able to do,” Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel, told WWD in an interview. Chanel currently uses a range of exotic fabrics including alligator, ostrich, and stingray. The company also announced that its pieces will also no longer feature fur, which it already uses sparingly. “You look at old collections, there was not much fur,” Pavlovsky said.
Availability also played a role in the company’s decision to forgo these skins. “There is a problem of supply…” he added, with WWD noting that it had become “increasingly difficult to source skins that met the house’s quality and ethical standards.” Pavolovsky continued: “We did it because it’s in the air, but it’s not an air people imposed to us. It’s a free choice.” But it’s also a smart choice: The usage of exotic fabrics increases a company’s carbon foot print exponentially.
As more brands focus on sustainable, cruelty-free alternatives to their current practices, keeping the creative momentum going will depend on the design team. “The future of high-end products will come from the know-how of what our atelier is able to do,” Pavlovsky said. Hopefully, that know-how will include more than just riffs on its signature tweed.