By Fall 2022, Kering — the luxury parent company behind brands like Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Brioni, and Saint Laurent — will officially phase out the use of fur across all of its brands, according to an official announcement on Friday, Sept. 24. This news comes just five years after the mega-brand Gucci stopped using the controversial material, promising consumers to integrate more ethical and sustainable practices going forward.
Historically, fur has been seen through a luxurious lens, symbolizing power and wealth. But it’s clear that this perception has changed over the decades, with brands seeing a huge decrease in demand due to the unethical impact it has on the planet and animals. Although most of Kering’s brands have already declared a fur-free future, this commitment (with little loss to the brands’ overall revenue) not only positions the French conglomerate at the forefront of sustainability, but it really marks a new era in fashion. “Through this lens, some materials have no place in luxury,” Kering chief executive François-Henri Pinault told Business of Fashion.
Following Gucci’s fur-free announcement back in 2018, other Kering brands, including Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen have all opted out of using the material over the years, leaving only Saint Laurent and Brioni to make the switch. “We will lose some customers that were looking for those types of products,” Pinault told BoF. “There’s an impact for sure.”
The pressure for brands to skip fur has been at an all-time high in recent years, with Billie Eilish negotiating with Oscar de la Renta to take a fur-free pledge in exchange of wearing the designer at the 2021 Met Gala. In an Instagram post from Sept. 13, the Happier Than Ever singer wrote, “it was an honor to wear this dress knowing that going forward oscar de la renta will be completely fur-free!!!! i am beyond thrilled that @fernandogarciam1205 and @tokibunbun and the entire team heard me on this issue, and have now made a change that makes an impact for the greater good, not only for animals but also for our planet and environment too. i’m honored to have been a catalyst and to have been heard on this matter. i urge all designers to do the same.”
With news of Kering’s commitment to ditch fur, animal rights activist groups like PETA have celebrated the ban. “PETA supporters who sent tens of thousands of letters to Kering, protested outside a Saint Laurent store, or doused then–Gucci designer Tom Ford with tomato juice can celebrate today’s announcement that all Kering brands are going fur-free,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk in a statement. “Nobody with a heart will wear fur, no designer with any sense will touch it, and any fashion house still selling it in 2021 is an embarrassment.”
“The future is clearly fur-free and now one of the world’s largest luxury fashion conglomerates agrees,” added Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and CEO of Humane Society International, in a statement. “As markets around the globe close their doors to fur products opting instead for innovative humane products, it makes complete sense for a power fashion house like Kering to make this ethical decision. We couldn’t be more proud of our long-standing relationship with Kering and its brands and look forward to continuing our work with them to pave the way for a kinder fashion world.”