NEW YORK — A change of heart has come between Calvin Klein and his fur coat collection. The designer announced Thursday he was bowing out of the fur business.
Klein quietly ended his fur license with Alixandre last November after 17 years, and now he has decided he won’t be returning to that market.
“I’ve had these feelings that I was not comfortable with doing fur,” said Klein. “That’s the reason I let the license lapse. We just let it go.”
Klein said that he was still undecided on what to do about fur “until we were mildly attacked by PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals].”
Last month members of PETA stormed the designer’s offices here, plastering anti-fur slogans on the walls and doors and leaving behind leaflets. Subsequently Klein invited PETA members to his headquarters for a meeting, in which he watched a video documenting how animals are trapped and killed in the wild and on fur farms.
“They [PETA] didn’t know we were no longer in the fur business,” he said, “but we had discussions afterward, and that’s when I really made the decision to no longer do furs.”
“Obviously this is not a new controversy,” said Dab Mathews, PETA’s director. “It had crossed his mind before, but a protest like the one we did rivets people to pay attention.”
However, fur industry executives say that just isn’t so.
“This is just PETA’s typical way of claiming that their actions have convinced people not to wear fur,” said Karen Handel, director of media relations and government affairs for the Fur Information Council of America. “Their actions against individuals haven’t worked, so now their new tactic is to go against designers,” she said. “And it’s not going to fly.”