In the high fashion world, fur has become more a symbol of cruelty than luxury.
So long, fur coats! You won't be seeing any more of these once-admired fashion pieces on Gucci's runway. The company just announced last week that it will be phasing out all fur clothing by the time its spring-summer collection is launched in 2018.
The statement came last week when company president and CEO Marco Bizzarri gave a talk at the London College of Fashion. He says the move demonstrates the company's "absolute commitment to making sustainability an intrinsic part of our business."
It is also in keeping with the general mood toward fur these days. Fellow Italian brand Armani pledged in 2016 that it would give up fur and an impressive number of fashion brands have signed onto the Humane Society's list of fur-free retailers.
The Humane Society is very happy with Gucci's announcement. President Kitty Block is quoted in the Guardian:
"Gucci going fur-free is a huge game-changer. For this Italian powerhouse to end the use of fur because of the cruelty involved will have a huge ripple effect throughout the world of fashion."
The arguments against fur clothing are powerful. The Fur-Free Alliance, which is an international group campaigning on animal welfare and promoting fur alternatives in the fashion industry, explains that most animals used for fur clothing are farmed intensively. Complicating matters is the fact that their breeds are essentially wild and have undergone a very limited domestication process.
"Kept in small wire cages, fear of humans and the restriction to exhibit natural behaviours causes animals on fur farms to exhibit a high number of stress-related animal welfare problems, [such as] infected wounds, missing limbs from biting incidents, eye infections, bent feet, mouth deformities, self-mutilation, cannibalism of dead siblings or offspring and other stress-related stereotypical behaviour."
Gucci plans to auction off all its remaining fur items to raise money for the Humane Society and LAV (an Italian animal rights campaigner).