LONDON — Harvey Nichols has become the latest luxury name to say “no” to fur, vowing to go pelt-free by the end of 2023.
The U.K. retailer is the latest in a long list of luxury names to reject fur and the decision is unlikely to dent sales.
Harvey Nichols sells very little fur and most of it features as trim on parkas by brands that have already started phasing it out.
The store’s most expensive fur item is a Yves Salomon black mink coat priced at 7,185 pounds. Even that brand has begun looking for alternatives to fur. Two years ago it transformed its secondary line Meteo into an entirely fur-free collection. The French furrier has used natural materials, such as shearling and woven wool, for the collection.
The rest of the fur on the Harvey Nichols shop floor comes as the trim on coats by Moose Knuckles, Canada Goose and Moncler, all of which have already phased out fur or are in the process of doing so.
On Friday, Harvey Nichols said it was “committed to sustainable and responsible practice” across all areas of the business, “and ethical trading is an important part of this program.”
The company said it made the decision as part of an ongoing review of its practices and continued sustainability initiatives and “will phase out the sale of fur or fur-trimmed products both online and in stores, to be completely fur-free by the end of 2023.”
The retailer said that this year, as it begins eliminating fur, it will continue to require any brand using fur to adhere to the Animal Sourcing Principles as set out by the Responsible Luxury Initiative.
The International Fur Federation said in a statement to WWD that Harvey Nichols’ decision to eliminate fur “will diminish the choice that it will be able to offer to their customers, particularly for environmentally sustainable materials.
“The fur sector had regular contact and meetings with the senior management team within Harvey Nichols. Throughout, they fully recognised and supported the steps taken by the industry around welfare and certification. It is disappointing that they were, however, unduly influenced by the ongoing campaign in the U.K. run by a small number of animal rights activists attacking fur. We would urge them to reconsider this decision so they are able to meet the demand for natural fur that remains strong in the U.K.”
Harvey Nichols follows retailers including Selfridges, Mytheresa, Neiman Marcus and a slew of brands including Burberry and Gucci on the no-fur path.
Pressure from activists, and the general public, about sustainability, animal welfare practices and the environmental impact of farming and producing pelts for fashion have forced many companies to reevaluate their approach to fur.
The industry, and the perception of fur, was dealt a hammer blow during the pandemic after a mutation of the COVID-19 virus was detected in Denmark’s mink farms. Farmers were forced to cull the country’s entire mink population resulting in the closure of major fur businesses, including the world’s largest auction house, Kopenhagen Fur. The cull stirred huge controversy both within Denmark and outside as some questioned whether killing the entire mink population was excessive.
At the same time, textile manufacturers have been working to produce synthetic, sustainable and biodegradable fur fibers. Most fake fur currently is made of plastic, which is not biodegradable.
Stella McCartney, a longtime animal rights activist, has said her aim is to work with fur that is made exclusively from recycled or natural raw materials. Her brand is currently working with a new plant-based material called Koba, which it has been codeveloping with DuPont and its faux fur suppliers.