Buyer Beware: Cruel Isn’t Cool

By on November 13, 2009 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Courtesy of Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
The HSUS’ Sarika Reuben, Nigel Barker, and contest winner
Ingrid Bergstrom-Kendrick at the Cool vs. Cruel event.

On Wednesday night, I was at the Bowery Hotel in New York City, co-hosting the awards ceremony for our fur-free campaign's Cool vs. Cruel Competition—a joint project of The Humane Society of the United States and the Art Institutes that recognizes fashion design students who come up with creative alternatives to animal fur. We recognize the top students at the event, and each year, I am so impressed with their work, reminding us yet again that’s there’s just no reason to kill fur-bearing animals for our fashion tastes. And judging from the packed event, it seems there are many in the fashion world who are in agreement. Photographer Nigel Barker, designers Victoria Bartlett and Charlotte Ronson, and editors Mickey Boardman of Paper and Dana Wood of W were just some of the industry professionals in attendance.

In addition to exposing the cruelty associated with obtaining fur, we at The HSUS have also been sniffing out major consumer deception by the fur industry and the retail sector. Our staffers have been uncovering falsely advertised and mislabeled animal fur for a decade, and some of these retailers seem to be unwilling or unable to right the situation. Knowing our members and others don't want to be duped by unlabeled or mislabeled animal fur, we've mounted a determined campaign to fix the problem and promote transparency. We are working diligently to pass a bill in Congress that would require all animal fur be labeled; right now many trimmed items don't say anything about the fur. And our lawsuit against Neiman Marcus, Macy's/Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, and Saks Fifth Avenue has cleared its first legal hurdle.

Courtesy of Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
Wayne Pacelle and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal
at the Cool vs. Cruel event.

New York Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal was one of the guests at Cool vs. Cruel, and she actually went undercover with our staff earlier this year and found some big name retailers were not in compliance with the law she shepherded to passage in New York to require accurate labeling of all garments with fur. It continues to be a major problem, and the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles just worked with us on yet another major exposé of the problem. We recently found again that Neiman-Marcus continues to be a laggard and scofflaw on this issue, and sold animal fur that was described online as faux, deceiving consumers.

Unfortunately, it's still buyer beware out there, so use our guide to telling real from fake fur and our list of which stores and designers are fur-free when you do your shopping.


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