A model displays a creation by designer Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel © ABACA/PA Images
A model displays a creation by designer Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel © ABACA/PA Images

Chanel bans furs and exotic skins

Chanel has banned furs and exotic skins from its collections following pressure from animal rights campaigners.

The luxury fashion brand said it would stop using animal furs and crocodile, snake and lizard skin in its products. 

In a statement, Chanel added that it was becoming "increasingly difficult" to source exotic skins in an ethically sound way. 

A spokeswoman said: "At Chanel, we are continually reviewing our supply chains to ensure they meet our expectations of integrity and traceability. In this context, it is our experience that it is becoming increasingly difficult to source exotic skins which match our ethical standards."

The animal rights activist group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which campaigns to ban the use of animal skins in the fashion industry, welcomed the announcement.

PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman said: "For decades, PETA has called on the brand to opt for luxury, cruelty-free fashion that no animal had to suffer and die for, and now it's time for other companies, like Louis Vuitton, to follow the lead of the iconic double C's and do the same."

A 2016 report by the Python Conservation Partnership (PCP), which includes the company behind Gucci and Balenciaga, found that around 300,000 reticulated pythons are taken annually from the wild in Indonesia and Malaysia to supply the international trade in exotic leathers. 

But the report said the quotas used by Indonesia and Malaysia at the time to regulate the harvest and trade in pythons were lower than those required to allow populations to maintain a healthy level.

In 2002, the EU banned the importation of wild harvested python skins due to ethical concerns. 

Advancements in textile technology means the need for use of real animal skins in fashion supply chains is reducing, according to PETA, which claims that alternative materials like faux fur and vegan leather, are "nearly indistinguishable from animal pelts and skins". 

Between 2015 and 2018 several other high-end fashion brands have taken the pledge to go fur-free, including Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Giorgio Armani and , most recently, Gucci.

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