These days, sustainable and ethical practices in fashion, and at large, are “trending.” When a brand attempts to join the eco-friendly bandwagon, it can seem like a disingenuous bid for our attention, and money. But despite any misplaced stereotypes, some labels do possess a moral compass that guides their business decisions. And those are the ones we should be shopping.
As climate change becomes more self-evident, many companies are faced with the reality of finite resources; as a result, they’re buckling down on practices that negatively impact their carbon footprint. Some, like Everlane, have come up with creative solutions to approach sustainability by using “ReNew”-able fabrics. Others, as a result of the improved quality of sustainable synthetic textiles, have sworn off using fur altogether.
Though fur, both real and faux, is one of the most divisive fabrics out there, more brands than ever are committing to using more ethical alternatives. That’s why, in the spirit of shopping smart, we’ve compiled a list that will help you keep track of the brands that have embraced a fur-free policy (trust us, there’s many) without sacrificing on high-quality design or style.
When Riccardo Tisci was installed at the helm of Burberry, he made one sweeping change: The brand announced it would no longer use fur in its collections. Simultaneously, Burberry also decided to stop burning its unsold clothing and accessories at the end of each season.
Jean-Paul Gaultier joined the fur-free moment in November 2018, saying that the way animals are killed for their fur is “absolutely deplorable.” Gaultier will continue to hypnotize people with his collections, like he did at the 2018 E! “People’s Choice Awards” with Kim Kardashian’s dizzying bodycon dress.
In 2017, Gucci joined the Fur Free Alliance, a group of 40 different organizations, including The Humane Society, which promotes alternatives to the use of fur in the fashion industry. Creative director Alessandro Michele stopped using fur in all of the brand’s collections as of spring 2018, but as anyone will tell you, that hasn’t hindered his designs one bit.
Coach announced last October that the brand would be ditching fur. “We understood from our employee[s] and from our consumers that it was important to them that we take a stand on this issue,” its chief executive Joshua Schulman told Business of Fashion. “We’re doing it because we believe it’s the right thing to do.”
In an interview with French Elle last Spring, Galliano said that true luxury is, “authenticity. And inventiveness … Today we don’t want a product, we want ethics, a firm that defends the values that we admire.”
At the same time, Galliano’s deconstructed designs for Margiela had gone fur-free and he had adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. “I’ve never been more clear-eyed.”
Since 2008, Vivienne Westwood’s British punk label has been free of fur and continues to make waves in the industry thanks to her dedication to creating a more ethical and sustainable future.
Stella McCartney, daughter of Paul McCartney, has long been against fur and leather. Her designs have attracted many “green” shoppers for their modern look and feel, despite being made of “vegan” leathers and fur-free furs.
Donatella Versace, queen of excess, is the last designer you would ever imagine to give up exotic fabrics, but she surprised pretty much everyone when she committed to just that in March 2018.
“Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right,” she told 1843 in May. Her designs continue to cater to a loyal, brocade-loving following that even Michael Kors couldn’t resist joining.
As if you needed another reason to love Net-A-Porter, the luxury e-tailer went fur-free in the fall of 2017 and has reportedly stopped selling furs since. Consider it proof that high style doesn’t have to come at a high price.