Calls to the fashion industry to stop the use of fur are not new, and fashion brands are not taking a principled stand against it either. Both have existed since the 1980s.
But 2021 saw a snowball effect from brands that have stopped using fur, including some longtime hardy like Canada Goose and big names with far-reaching reach like Kering. The latter banned the use of fur across all of its many high-profile brands, including Gucci in September. Alexander McQueen stopped using fur in March and Oscar de la Renta quit in August. And in December, Armani stopped using angora fur from rabbits.
Major department stores also made changes to their fur policies in 2021. While announced in 2020, Nordstrom has pledged to stop selling any fur products by the end of 2021, which it has done, and Neiman Marcus promised this year to do the same by 2023.
The reasons for the sudden increase are varied, but undeniably there has been a strong push in recent years, especially from younger consumers, for brands to live up to the values shared by their consumers. This has led to more brands prioritizing producing sustainable and ethically made products, being forthright about social issues and avoiding the use of furs and other wasteful or harmful materials. The total fur business fell precipitously from $ 40 billion in 2015 to $ 22 billion in 2019.
Noah Stern, co-CEO of outerwear brand Moose Knuckles, which also ditched fur this year, said customer demand was part of what inspired the change for the company.
And those decisions can change quickly. In April, Canada Goose, famous for its fur-trimmed parkas, told Glossy that it would not end the use of fur but would stop buying new fur and instead use only “regenerated” fur. At the time, Gavin Thompson, vice president of corporate responsibility for Canada Goose, said the company was “moving fast” towards the goal and hoped to use fully remanufactured fur by the end of 2022. Two months later, the company has announced that it would instead stop producing anything with fur by the end of 2022.
The move is part of a broader campaign by Canada Goose to increase its sustainability credentials. The brand has also begun replacing materials like polyester and down with recycled or faux alternatives.
In April, Thompson said that one of the biggest challenges for brands today is “the evolution of consumers” who have high standards for brands.
But while fur is on the verge of extinction, it is still difficult to find a good fur replacement. Moose Knuckles is still looking for the right fur-free alternative to use instead of fur, with Thompson telling Business of Fashion in July that he got involved. “eliminating a lot of greenwashed materials. “
But Kathleen Talbot, head of sustainability at Reformation, which has been fur-free since its founding, said there are good materials. Brands just have to commit to changing their supply chain from scratch.
“I’ve tested a lot of plant-based materials and there are some amazing vegan fur materials,” said Talbot. The reform uses waste synthetic fur produced with wood pulp. “You don’t even see the difference. I am so happy that brands like Stella McCartney and others have led the way and that so many department stores are banning the use of fur. “