Activists everywhere rejoiced at the announcement that Burberry has committed to stop using fur in their future designs. Burberry’s fur use has been restricted in recent years to rabbit, fox, mink and Asiatic raccoon. But they have confirmed that all fur, including angora, will be banned from their designs going forward. In recent years, numerous fashion giants including Versace, Armani, and Gucci have all committed to being fur-free; citing that the use of real fur is not only cruel and unnecessary but extremely outdated.
The good news came as a footnote in a press release on Thursday with the main purpose of indicating Burberry will cease their practice of burning millions of dollars in unsold goods every year. Many fashion companies including H&M still partake in garment burning to avoid selling their clothes at discounted prices while simultaneously drawing interest to their most current collections.
The release states: “Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible. This belief is core to us at Burberry and key to our long-term success. We are committed to applying the same creativity to all parts of Burberry as we do to our products.”
The following day, London Fashion Week announced this year’s show would be completely fur-free, a first since the show’s inception in 1984. This is due in large part to campaigns by London based animal advocacy group, Surge. At the 2016 London Fashion Week, 25 activists attended their protests. The following year, more than 250 activists took to the streets of London demanding the barbaric use of animal furs to be abolished. After only 2 years of campaigning, LFW will be leaving fur off the catwalk, demonstrating the power activists have when we unite towards a common goal. This move sets a precedent for other designers to follow worldwide. To make money in this economy, consumers demand that companies not only focus on profits but also their planetary impact. For companies to survive in this shifting landscape, they must adapt by making ethics inherent in their bottom line.
While this announcement is good news for fur-bearing animals, there is still much work to be done with regards to other animal products used in the name of fashion. Fur is generally recognized as cruel and unnecessary, but other animal skins are not regarded in the same light. Leather jackets are making a comeback and cows are the ones to bear the true cost of this fashion fad. It is utterly inconsistent to be concerned with the suffering of one animal and ignore that of another, for all animals are the same in the ways that matter. While this is a huge step for the fashion world, we have our work cut out for us convincing people that all animal use is not only unacceptable but also unnecessary. With innovations in biofabrication and vegan products becoming cost-competitive with the real thing, it is just a matter of time before the thought of wearing animals is complete fashion faux pas.