By  on August 27, 2007

NEW YORK — Responding to NYC Animal Rights' plans to rally outside her Sept. 5 show, Nicole Miller took matters into her own hands Friday, spelling out her company's miniscule use of fur this year and plans to be fur-free starting in the spring.

The designer and her company's chief executive officer Bud Konheim said in a statement that fur was never planned for the spring runway show. This year, the company will design, manufacture and market 150,000 pieces in 1,090 styles for its designer collection, but only 12 pieces will have fur trim. That amounts to 0.008 percent of the items the company sells, meaning 99.992 percent of its garments are fur-free, they said. Those figures are typical of the designer's collection.

NYC Animal Rights' Web site posted the "Nicole Miller Biography of Cruelty," superimposed on a close-up of the designer's face Photoshopped with what appeared to be blood on her cheeks. The group's multiple claims online Friday included, "For over 20 years, Nicole Miller has been a principal of American arrogance and greed. Her following is celebrity driven and far-reaching thanks to cruel designs that appeal to an array of selfish customers."

Another section on the site is called "Nicole Miller Animal Killer" and features an image of the designer wearing what looks like a Photoshopped fur coat and fur hat.

Miller and Konheim took issue with the claims. "The characterizations of us made by NYC Animal Rights on an insulting parody Web site that used our imagery without our authorization are unfair, misleading and in violation of the law," they said.

The pair described their company as "one of the few creative independent voices left in New York and one that continuously reviews its products and business practices with a socially-conscious eye."

The statement continued, "We do not intend for this statement to be seen as any endorsement of NYC Animal Rights nor any other organization using illegal, bullying, intimidating or violent actions in support of any cause."

Miller's legal team may take action, Konheim said Friday.

When told about Miller's statement, NYC Animal Rights founder Santos Lopez said, "The amount of fur she uses is not that relevant. That's a lot of fur for the animal it came off of. It shows no consent for the animals. Any amount of fur is a lot of fur."However, NYC Animal Rights would consider not staging the demonstration if Miller is planning to go fur-free this spring, Lopez said.

Dennis Basso was among the designers the group planned to target during Fashion Week, he said. Informed that Basso is no longer showing in September, Lopez said, "It might just be Michael Kors then, but it's still up in the air."

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