Luxury fashion brand Gucci will go fur-free from next year, according to the company’s chief executive.
Speaking at the 2017 Kering Talk at the London College of Fashion, Marco Bizzari announced that the move was part of a commitment to sustainability.
“Being socially responsible is one of Gucci’s core values, and we will continue to strive to do better for the environment and animals,” he said.
“With the help of the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) and [animal rights group] Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV), Gucci is excited to take this next step and hopes it will help inspire innovation and raise awareness, changing the luxury fashion industry for the better.”
The Italian fashion house said it would make the changes from the brand’s spring-summer 2018 collection and auction off all of its remaining animal fur items.
It added that proceeds from the auction would go to animal rights organisations Humane Society International (HSI) and LAV.
The new policy will include a ban on mink, coyote, raccoon dog, fox, rabbit, karakul— a breed of domestic sheep— and all other species specifically bred or caught for fur, according to the HSUS.
Gucci joins several other major fashion brands and retailers who have already gone fur-free, including Armani, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood and Hugo Boss.
Kitty Block, president of HSI, welcomed Gucci’s “compassionate decision”.
“Gucci going fur-free is a huge game changer,” she said.
“For this Italian powerhouse to end the use of fur because of the cruelty involved will have a huge ripple effect throughout the world of fashion.”
The global fur industry is estimated to be worth more than £30.2bn a year, according to Morgan Stanley. Fur farming was banned in the UK in 2000.
However, Mark Oaen, CEO of trade body International Fur Federation, said the industry was surprised by the decision.
“Claiming they have done this for environmental reasons makes no sense,” he said.
“Fur is the most natural fashion item. It comes from nature and lasts for decades, unlike chemical-based fabrics or fake fur.”
Bizzari added that the decision was also partially made because using the material had become “outdated”.
“Do you think using furs today is still modern? I don’t think it’s still modern and that’s the reason why we decided not to do that,” he said.
“Technology is now available that means you don’t need to use fur—the alternatives are luxurious, there is just no need.”
☛ Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.