Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri announced on Wednesday that the house will not, “use promote or publicize animal fur” beginning with the Spring 2018 collection. Gucci is currently the most influential design house and this announcement is likely to change the entire industry’s attitude towards the use of animal fur. They are not the first high profile company to pledge to be fur free. Stella McCartney has never used fur or leather for that matter. Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren discontinued using fur years ago. What makes Gucci’s announcement remarkable is heretofore they have been selling fur like crazy, from hats to shoes and everything in between. Fur has been enjoying a moment the last few years, with sophisticated new intarsia techniques allowing any pattern imaginable to be realized in fur. For a major player like Gucci to pull the plug on fur during the height of this fur renaissance is meaningful.
Fur, like smoking during pregnancy, was once universally accepted. Jackie Kennedy as first lady looked smashing in her leopard coat. Cruelty to animals and sustainability never entered the conversation. But times change and though fur is still immensely popular there is a growing stigma attached to wearing fur. I struggle with it myself, I own fur and have worked with fur in design, and yes I love the look of it and design possibilities it enables. Increasingly though I feel uneasy about using and wearing it. I love animals of all kinds, how can I justify the cruel treatment they endure to supply us with pelts? When working in fur it’s all too easy to see the fur as pelts, not the living and breathing creatures they once were.
The fashion faithful will surely shift their attitude towards becoming fur free. If Gucci deems fur a thing of the past, that attitude will trickle down. More luxury companies will follow suit or at least analyze the costs and benefits of producing fur and decide accordingly. To be successful in fashion you must be one step ahead of the curve and the ever-resourceful fashion industry is already reacting with sophisticated faux furs. As proof here’s a sampling of great fakes available now. I’m not even missing fur!