NEW YORK — Anne Klein & Co., which two weeks ago was declared the new designer target of anti-fur activists, is not renewing its fur license after 25 years in the business.
The company’s most recent contract, which was with furrier Goldin-Feldman here, expired in December.
Anne Klein’s decision was announced Tuesday by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and confirmed by the company. While PETA hailed the decision, it also released a letter it received from Frank R. Mori, chief executive officer of Takihyo, owner of Anne Klein.
Mori, who chastised PETA for its “extortionate manner,” said in the letter that Anne Klein’s decision was “based on a number of business reasons unrelated to your threats.”
The letter said the decision not to renew the license was made before the firm received a letter from PETA telling of its intentions. Mori’s letter added that “threats to interrupt our business or damage our reputation are unacceptable,” and that if continued “we will respond in an appropriate manner.” Mori could not be reached for comment.
This development comes on the heels of Calvin Klein’s public announcement on Feb. 11 that it was bowing out of the fur business entirely. In November, Klein had quietly ended his fur license with Alixandre after 17 years. Last month, PETA stormed Klein’s offices here, plastering anti-fur slogans on the walls and doors and leaving leaflets.
According to Dan Mathews, director of internal campaigns for PETA, its members had threatened Anne Klein officials with similar tactics, saying they were planning a poster campaign for March, featuring a photo of a dead, trapped coyote with a boot on her throat under the headline, “Where does Anne Klein stand on fur?” The posters were originally made for the campaign against Calvin Klein.
Mathews added that PETA is preparing a target list of designers who are showing fur lines in May.
“Unless they agree not to renew their fur licenses, we will not lay off,’ he said, crediting its activist approach for forcing designer firms like Calvin Klein and Anne Klein & Co. to take a stance.
The Fur Information Council disagrees.
“The fur business was not a major focus for Anne Klein & Co.,” said Karen Handel, the association’s director of media relations and government affairs. “It was clearly a business decision. I don’t think they would have been intimidated by PETA’s scare tactics.”