Today we’re thrilled to announce that Hugo Boss, one of the world’s leading luxury brands, is adopting a 100 percent fur-free policy that will spare thousands of animals from needless suffering. The Germany-based global fashion giant committed to the policy after working with The HSUS and The Fur Free Alliance, a coalition of 40 animal protection organizations in 28 countries working to end the fur trade. The policy will come into effect with its 2016 Fall/Winter collection.
Hugo Boss is also banning angora, down feathers from force-fed, live-plucked geese. And it will give preferential treatment to wool suppliers that stop mulesing their sheep (a procedure in which farmers pull strips of wool-bearing skin off sheep without painkillers), hoping to be 90 percent mulesing-free by 2020. These policies will surely lead to new, innovative alternatives to replace cruel and outdated industry practices.
Ironically, we make the announcement today after a Sunday New York Times story quotes fur industry proponents saying fur is back. While there’s still a roiling debate over the use of fur in society, and millions of animals are still ruthlessly killed for their pelts, this article repeats the standard industry hype as a means of trying to gain momentum and regain market share. The fur industry has long felt the effects of animal welfare activism, and it’s seen how our work has ushered in changes in so many sectors of the animal-use economy. With the culture waking up on animal protection issues, reflected in so many ways, the momentum is on the side of animal protection, and the fur industry remains deeply vulnerable to disruption.
Hugo Boss’ latest Sustainability Report is also filled with encouraging animal welfare policies and statements showing leadership in a luxury market that sorely needs it. Willing to take that challenge head on, Hugo Boss intends to “inspire the present generation and especially the next generation with a new kind of luxury,” one that promotes humane alternatives or what Hugo Boss calls “friendly fur,” made without animals.
In a Q&A with Bernd Keller, Hugo Boss’s brand and creative director of sportswear, the company makes it clear that fur has no place in a sustainable business strategy. According to Keller, “[Hugo Boss has] decided to adopt a different route and we are therefore giving our sustainable corporate strategy – in this case animal protection – precedence over the ‘fast’ and ‘simple’ route to success. We are delighted to embrace innovative challenges in relation to the planning and design of a collection.”
That attitude – of replacing cruelty with sustainable innovations – is the future of the fashion industry. Already, quality faux-fur alternatives are almost indistinguishable from the real thing. And the world’s leading fashion brands – from Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger to Stella McCartney and Ralph Lauren – increasingly want nothing to do with fur.
As innovations produce more fashionable, sustainable, and humane alternatives, fur and angora look ever more archaic and unnecessary. I’m reminded of my good friend Matthew Scully’s words in his book Dominion: “When you start with a necessary evil, and over time the necessity passes away, what’s left?”
The rest of the luxury fashion world should take notice as Hugo Boss receives deserving recognition for its innovation and leadership. Please join me by thanking Hugo Boss for its inspiring and forward-thinking policies.