During New York Fashion Week, look out for the innovative materials that have knocked fur off the runway
As fashion week begins tomorrow in New York City, and then in London, Milan and Paris, I’m reminded that not so long ago these weeks were a time of worry for our fur-free team and fellow advocates around the world. Not knowing how many models would be wearing fur as they took to the runway, we would closely track which designers were using fur—the list was extensive—and do our best to identify the animals who lost their lives for a “look.”
Thankfully, a lot has changed in this regard, with Italian luxury brands Moncler and Dolce&Gabbana becoming the latest companies to announce fur-free policies, joining so many others that have opted for modern, cruelty-free materials that have less impact on the environment and do not require the sacrifice of animals’ lives. With momentum on our side, we’re already seeing a lot less animal fur on the runways this year.
According to Tagwalk, a fashion search engine, there was a 644% increase of faux fur on the runway during this year’s men’s fall/winter shows compared to 2021, and we expect to see that trend continue with the women’s shows ahead.
With so many brands and retailers dropping animal fur, many are asking: “Who’s left?”
Internationally, brands such as Max Mara, Philipp Plein, Woolrich, Hermès, Yves Salomon, Roberto Cavalli and Salvatore Ferragamo still sell animal fur. Similarly, luxury behemoth LVMH—the parent company for brands Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Marc Jacobs and Givenchy—has sided with the fur trade and doesn’t allow its brands any choice to dissent. In the U.S., the main holdouts are department stores Dillard’s, Kohl’s and Belk, and in the United Kingdom, the outliers are Harrods, Harvey Nichols and House of Fraser.
Even though that list is incredibly small compared to the long list of companies that have chosen a humane way forward, it’s clear there’s more work to do, and we’re determined to finish the job. We will continue to engage these brands and retailers to show them that cruelty is never fashionable and to point out that the ethically minded consumer base—those who care about animals and the environment and want the companies they support to align with those values—is only going to get larger and louder.
As long as these companies continue to sell fur despite animal suffering and the overwhelming evidence of the environmental and public health risks inherent to fur trade, there’s still a need for related policy reform. By banning fur sales, we eliminate fur products from the marketplace, bolster innovative cruelty-free materials, save countless animal lives and give companies such as Max Mara, LVMH, Dillard’s and Harrods incentive to go fur-free.
With the majority of consumers and fashion companies in agreement, we’re working with supporters and legislators to end fur sales in cities and states across the U.S. California and 10 U.S. cities have banned fur sales, and we’re building momentum for the United Kingdom to become the second country in the world to do so. We were thrilled when Israel became the first country to do it in 2021.
Our work is not yet done in this arena of animal protection, but as models in New York City and other cities around the world prepare to take the runway, we want to celebrate the monumental progress we’ve made to remove fur from fashion. We hope you’ll join us by thanking the fur-free designers who led the way. Be sure to follow the HSUS’s and HSI’s Instagram stories at the beginning of each fashion week, where we’ll be showing our appreciation to fur-free brands and designers and hoping you will do the same.