“This subject would need very lengthy discussion, and once you approach fur you should possibly approach the larger issue of sustainability and the environment and maybe much more, all issues that our company is committed to. I have always preferred doing, acting, instead of making announcements: Of course, we are researching and analyzing the possibilities very seriously, and I have stopped showing fur on the catwalk. The subject is serious and has to be addressed, but let’s not forget it’s a small part of a much bigger picture that needs the same attention.”
“It’s about time that the fashion industry woke up to the fact that fur is cruel, barbaric and simply incredibly old-fashioned and unfashionable. The use of new materials and new technology is really what’s exciting in the future of this industry. To kill animals in the name of fashion and to use their skins when you can’t tell the difference any longer just seems ridiculous.
“I’m so excited that the fashion industry is seeing forward and using its creative ability and business sense to seize the opportunity of change and mindfulness in the future generations of consumers.
“I have been doing this from Day One and I feel very proud that I have been true to myself and my beliefs….But this isn’t about me and my voice, it’s about the entire industry collectively working together for the better of the planet and the better of animal welfare.
“Also, just understanding that things shift and change and that everything is changing in this direction and people are being more conscious about what they eat, about what they bring into their homes, how they travel, how they live their life. And why should fashion not be part of that change? It should be an incredibly exciting thing.
“The people that work in the industries of fur should really look at this as a moment to shift and change how they’re approaching their work. Can they open their arms and open their hearts to thinking of a new way and finding a new, exciting business model within that change?
“I do see a point when the world is going to suddenly wake up and see that killing animals is incredibly inefficient, unsustainable and cruel. It’s the only way that we can go forward. We can’t sustain this use of land, this use of grain, this use of water. It’s just inefficient and it won’t work.”
“Fake fur pollutes the world more than anything else. Fur is an industry. It’s legal. The idea that people don’t like it — I understand. But as long as they use leather and eat meat, I don’t see that it’s a problem.
“It’s more and more difficult to make fur collections. You can hardly find expensive furs. You have to do shearlings and shaved mink and things like this because it’s impossible to find sable, it’s very, very difficult. Because, you know, sable and ermine — you cannot farm. People who want to suppress the fur industry — if they have enough money to make an income for all the people who work in that industry, OK. I see it going nowhere.”
On whether fur will disappear as a luxury staple
“When you think about fashion today, we’re certainly not living in era I think of edicts. This isn’t Kay Thompson screaming, ‘Think pink!’ We’re in a moment where fashion is more than ever up to the individual. I have a feeling that there will be many women who will mix it all up, that there will be customers we’ll see who will wear faux fur, shearling, real fur, recycled. I don’t think it’s all or nothing.”
On going fur-free now
“I’ve been thinking about it for quite a while. I always thought the faux furs we do on the Michael line were fun, and I loved the texture and the exuberance of them. But on Collection, I always want things to have a level of artisanal workmanship, something that takes it to a higher level. The challenge was shearling in the past was very masculine, very heavy. Faux furs to me were strictly fun; they didn’t feel luxurious. We worked for quite a while to rethink how you look at faux fur, to be able to use it in a more artisanal way. Once I saw it come together, it was kind of the eureka moment that I get to do something new that I haven’t done before without all of the things that I don’t know, boxed you in, in the past. So I think that all of those things came together and just — it’s the right moment. The right thing at the right time. That’s what fashion is about.”
On the animal aspect
“I’m a pet owner, I’ve been to Africa many times on safari. It’s something that personally I think about all the time. But at the same time, I’d been making furs for so many years and as a designer I love the texture, I love the indulgence of it. How do I continue with that texture and that indulgence but not use animals that were raised or trapped for their fur? I wanted to have it all. Don’t we all? That was really the crux of it. I didn’t want to give up anything, but I wanted to move forward at the same time. I think everyone has been trying to figure out how can we move forward and do something new, and and still at the same time [not] give up the idea of luxury and glamour and indulgence.
“Put it this way. Now I really sound like someone who is old, but as I said, fashion is always progressing and it’s a different time. When I was a boy in those days, Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren were walking around wearing a leopard coat.”
“We didn’t do fur this season. As somebody who has worn fur and has quite a collection of it and who has used fur in the past, this season, we didn’t make a statement about not using fur, we just didn’t use fur. We were very happy with the fake furs that existed. But it wasn’t a political statement. And I would never say “never” about anything. So, for me to say, “I’ll never use fur,” it’s just not going to happen.
“I have to say that in the world we live in right now and with experiences I’ve gone through in other areas of fashion, I think it’s impossible to not be sensitive to things that people take issue with. So while I probably wouldn’t allow something to affect certain creative or aesthetic choices, I am more sensitive than ever toward things. That doesn’t mean I’ve gone green. The only person I know who works in fashion — and that doesn’t mean she’s the only one who exists — who has been through-and-through anti-fur, anti-leather and [is] vegan and all that is Stella [McCartney]. That is a life choice. Her belief system is to me without hypocrisy.
“That doesn’t mean that there aren’t others, but I can’t think of another. So, when people start to conveniently talk about being green or conveniently become anti-fur, I’m a little bit suspect. In order to avoid that kind of hypocrisy that I don’t respect from others, I just [don’t make definitive statements].”
Alessandro Michele, Gucci
“I know very well that there is a point where you have to decide. I spent a lot of time talking about it and trying to understand what was the right way to approach this problem. And at the end, I thought, it’s like when you have to stop to smoke. You know that it is something that is not good for you, but you love it. But it’s not good. So at the end, you just have to take your box of cigarettes and throw it in the bin and that’s it. Because after, you feel much better.
“I feel very proud of myself because it was something that I really love, but I knew that it was not good. In creativity, there are a lot of challenges. Creativity means also that you have to change and be open to change.”
“As someone who literally grew up in the luxury fur industry, at the creative helm of a brand that was started by my great-great-great-grandfather, I feel fairly assured that there will always be customers who are passionate about fur — just as there have always been detractors. Fur is a luxury product, and should be regarded as such. It isn’t for everyone. That’s why my daughter, Chloe, recently launched her own line of faux fur, Maison Atia, to offer high-quality alternatives to those who don’t wear fur for either ethical or economic reasons, but who appreciate the aesthetic. We could talk about the toll on the environment that synthetic fur takes compared to natural fur, or the communities around the world who have supported themselves for generations through the fur industry, or the importance of preserving the incredible savoir-faire and craftsmanship of fur artisans, but ultimately, it all comes down to a question of choice. We’re living in a time in which choice and inclusiveness is everything. Between my daughter and me, we have options for people on all sides of the fur debate.”
On going fur-free now
“Because I thought it was the right moment. This is something I have been thinking for a while. As a person, but most importantly as a businesswoman, I need to carefully evaluate what impact certain decisions will have on the business. Therefore, the decision of going fur-free from 2019 is part of a gradual evaluation and a broader plan that centers on the various sustainable initiatives we are doing at Versace to embrace a more conscious and environment-savvy approach.
“Also, because the exposure to the younger generations, thanks to social media and to their passion for these social causes, made me do a soul-searching to understand where I was standing on those same social issues. I have started to think about legacy, the next generations and leaving a better future. We, as designers, do not live in a vacuum, fashion does not live in a vacuum, but what we do is the reflection of the society that creates it. If, for a long time, one could do things differently or certain issues were perceived as less pressing, today it is not the case anymore.
“As a person, you go through phases in your life. The same things happen with your beliefs, priorities or with how you project yourself to the world. In my case, all this has an impact on my job and my company, of course. I can’t say this decision was a sudden epiphany, because it is part of bigger change we are making at Versace and that involves me personally.
“I think that there are several factors that are coming together at this moment in time, which made for this moment of accelerating impact. We are witnessing an unprecedented shift in the way consumers think, starting with the consumer becoming more conscious and aware of what they are buying. In this age of technology and transparency, a brand needs to take a clear position on important topics such as this one. So, we all need to ask ourselves and take a closer look at how we do business to make sure it’s in line with values we believe in today.”
On continuing to evolve her position
“The good news is that with the advancing of research and the development in material technology, many products can now be developed in more environmentally friendly ways, which did not exist only a few of years ago.
“The announcement has also made me think about other animal-derived products in the collections, obviously. I know that this issue will soon arise. An important consideration to be made is whether an animal is raised and killed specifically for fashion — and you know what I think about that! — or not. It is a different thing if it is a by-product of an existing process like the food chain, as is the case of leather.
“This being said, we are researching more sustainable ways to produce leather as well: It is all still very experimental and we are far from an actual, feasible solution, but the process has started.
“For us, for myself and for Versace, sustainability is that — a process — and we are constantly evaluating and improving how we do things with every season and every collection.
“Since I made the announcement, we have been working to phase out fur for all our future collections development, starting with the ones that will be produced in 2019 and clearly been looking at the entire production chain. But these things take a long time and study and research. It’s not something that can happen the day with the night. This is why it is important to start. It is now widely known that anything we produce has an impact on the environment — whether it’s how materials are raised, the chemicals and water used and so on….The important thing for me is being honest and transparent and intentional. I want to be clear about what we are making and its impact, and to make conscious choices starting from the design phase.”
Dries Van Noten
“I’m drawn by the fact that you can now have fake fur, which is so good, so beautifully done. It’s also technique. I love skills, and for me, the fourrure, the people who work in fur — it’s a profession with skill, which is so fantastic. But on the other hand, of course, there is a cruelty, and it’s not the nicest thing when you see films of how the fur is made and everything. Yet we have to also be honest and see how cruel it can be to the world that you do all those very synthetic yarns and all these things to make [fake] fur. So, for me, it’s a very double thing. You can say, ‘OK, you don’t want to be cruel to the animals,’ but maybe once you would know about how the environment you need to make this [fake] fur, so it’s a little bit of a double thing. So, my answer is, I don’t know.”
“Every brand can express its own idea of luxury, comprehending in this concept fur or not. However, if you exclude fur from the collections, to be really consistent, you should not produce leather garments, including shearling, and leather accessories as bags and shoes. I have always considered fur as an expression of high-end craftsmanship, exclusivity and luxury.
“My family has a three-generation tradition in fur; my father has been a skilled artisan since he was 17 years old. In my collection, I have some fur pieces that are made in Italy, using certified supplies and only permitted materials.”
“These days, the most important thing to me is respect for the environment, the planet and all the wonderful people, animals and creatures that inhabit it.
“However, I have used fur, but very sparingly, through some of my collections. On those occasions I have only used ethically sourced fur. I believe strongly in that.”
“I think we’ve been seeing [a move from fur toward fake fur]. It’s a trend, especially for Millennials, they get it. It’s part of their whole psyche as far as dressing. The Chinese have perfected [fake fur]. They computerized it. They can do these little prints, they can simulate Mongolian, they can achieve amazing colors. And the movement now is so good that you can’t tell the difference. Then, the price point is so reasonable. All those things are making it so desirable. I think also a lot of the Millennials are vegetarian so they would never wear fur. So, it’s kind of the perfect situation at this point.
“I’ve always done both. I worked with Adrienne Landau for years. Not this season, because this price [of fake] got so much better. I mean, I love fur. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to do fur again. But it’s an issue.”
Silvia Venturini Fendi
“Of course, I live in real life and so I’m interested about that, very much interested. In this collection we are mixing fur with clothes, with fabric that looks like fur. And there’s more and more use of shearling, which is in the food chain. But I’m very confident in the new technologies, so we will see.
“We are open to investigating [adapting Fendi technologies to non-fur products]; Fendi has been always very democratic. I remember during the Eighties when this movement was very, very strong, we did this show with fake fur worked like they were real. So I think that we will see. But, of course, when you decide to go for that, you have to do it in a very committed way. It’s not just [about] not doing fur and doing crocodile or exotic-skin bags, which doesn’t make sense. So the minute you decide to do it, you have to be really committed. I respect very much people who are really committed to it. We can use our technology with any materials. We will see. The future is going to be very interesting.
“The environment: That’s very worrying, too. The quality of faux fur is quite beautiful, more and more interesting. But it’s toxic to the environment. You just don’t know what to do anymore.”
“Oh, my God! The fur question! There’s no way to answer this fur question without getting in trouble with somebody…
“I have recently become vegan — within the last year. [Going vegan] starts to make you question [fur]. I have started using much more fake fur. I’m not yet ready to say that I’m fur-free. Now, I have limited the fur in these collections and going forward to food by-products, which does not sound very sexy. “I’m selling you a food by-product!” That means cowhide, it means shearling, it means not doing fur that is raised purely for its pelt.
“No mink, no fox. I have used a lot of fake fur this season. I’ve also used some shearling and what is called pony in the industry but it is not pony, it is cowhide….Because whether I’m consuming meat or not, other people are, so these are things that are collected.
“I’m also very torn about this because fake fur is terrible for the environment. People think of fake fur as a disposable thing. They buy it, they wear it a few seasons, they throw it away, it doesn’t biodegrade. It’s a petroleum product. It is highly toxic. And then, you could argue that tanning leather is a highly toxic process. A fur coat gets recycled. People wear them for 30 years, they give them to their kids, then they turn them into throw pillows. So I don’t know the answer to that. I’ve been very honest, and it’s probably going to get me in all sorts of trouble with everybody, but I don’t know the answer.”
“It’s a very delicate topic. It is undeniable that today this is a relevant issue. Fur has always been part of Valentino’s heritage; our house contains historical and iconic fur pieces. So this is definitely part of the Valentino iconic imagery.
“I work side by side with specialized professionals in this field, women and men who have worked in this art form for years. So as a creative director, if I’m considering the eventual abandonment of fur production, I first have to uphold two responsibilities. The first is easier — I need to reinvent a contemporary alternative to fulfill this same aesthetic heritage and feeling. The other, which is very important to me, I must protect all the people, the artisans. Ethically, it’s very important to protect all the people that work in Italy [in the fur industry]. In my company, I have many people that work on this. Before doing any [changes], we have to experiment.
“Maybe we [can] transform the knowhow and the craft into something different. Maybe using fake fur with fantastic craftsmanship is also very luxurious and very couture. It’s not the material that makes a difference but the craft of the people. I’m experimenting. I am open to new challenges. Why not?”
Luciano Santel, chief corporate and supply officer of Moncler
“Actually, fur is not in Moncler’s DNA. We believe that product quality means a complete 360-degree approach encompassing human rights, animal welfare and traceability along the whole supply chain.”
“I was having lunch with Dan [Mathews, president of PETA] the other day. We don’t use fur, unless a by-product — sheepskin. Other than that, we don’t use fur. People are more aware than ever. There are more vegetarian and macrobiotic restaurants in Paris than ever. At Maison Margiela, it’s not going to be used anymore. Which raises the challenges as to what else can you propose that brings that perceived sense of luxury.
“I’m a good pal of Dan’s. I think the awareness he’s brought to the world is phenomenal. A few years ago, I was in St. Tropez swimming, relaxing, and the last person I expected was him. It was like ‘Jaws.’ He was under the water and then came up…I will never forget the story. We had a drink, we had a lunch, and he’s so charming, and we communicated and we talked, and it made a lot of sense. And then I became vegetarian, vegan, macro and we kept up — really cool.”
“As a company, we have always steered away from exotic furs such as minks, sables, foxes, etc. It’s is not in our brand DNA as we believe that luxury is more defined as “a state of mind”‘ rather than an exotic skin. Although we use leathers and shearlings, we always strive to be conscious of consumption and only using what is necessary and byproducts of animals we consume.
“I respect every brand’s choice to do what’s right for them and realize our industry is undoubtedly going through many necessary shifts and changes at the moment, and I expect that as an industry we are constantly evolving our choices and decision-making to reflect a more conscious world.”
Massimo Giorgetti, MSGM
“It’s a very delicate subject. I can’t be an extremist. I can’t say yes to fur or no to fur. I think that what is happening in fashion with the use of fur is the signal of a social change, a change of society, rather than of the sector. In food, the direction is toward bio food, and everywhere there is growing respect for the environment in all that we do, and the realization that we can’t go on this way.
“I am not sure that the use of ecological [fake] fur is a definitive or winning solution. And the plastic, hence petrol, used to make it is undoubtedly very harmful to nature and the environment. The use of plastic, more than that of fur, is really a thought that continues to whirr in my head. All the sneakers we produce, the clothes, the bags…all the plastic that we use in our collections. I think that the next step is how to drastically reduce the use of plastic. Are ecological [fake] furs really the winning answer? You wear an outfit made in plastic, convinced you have respected animals and the environment, but is it really so?
“In my collections, there are ecological [fake] furs but also forays into real furs. My position? I am thinking of going totally toward the ecological [fake] furs but the idea of the material used to produce them really makes me hesitant.”
Clare Waight Keller
“I have done [real fur] in the past. My personal opinion is yes [we’re seeing the end of fur]. I think so. I really believe that the new generation coming through is not accepting that at all. I think there are actually incredibly amazing alternatives and I think it’s now just waiting for the next leap for when they actually grow it.
“It’s a real dilemma between the two [fur-free and the environmental hazards of fake fur]. But I think [we’re at] the mid-step to the next stage of growing it. I think it’s a transition and it’s really about the support of that movement toward — going to actually growing leather and fur.”
Diane von Furstenberg
“I am excited that technology has provided a way for women way to feel as glamorous with faux fur.”
“Trends lately are changing so fast that I don’t think things are going to last one way or another.
“I used furs just twice in my designs. Despite the ever-changing trends, I do believe that fur is not an appealing material, and I have not used it for the past three years. I do not like furs for more than one reason. First of all, for ethical reasons: I have two dogs and I love them like family members, so I can no longer ignore how fur animals are treated. Second, for aesthetic reasons: For me, fur is not flattering for women at all. I love working with different materials that have the same warmth but are much lighter and more versatile, as the double fabrics and cashmere cloths. My position is the same for fur and shearling.”
Jeremy Scott, Moschino
“I stopped using fur in my designs a few years ago and have always been a big proponent of faux fur in my collections.”
“I stopped using fur a few years ago, even after having had a fur collection. The gratuitous use of fur everywhere and anywhere, that supposedly screamed luxury, sent prices sky high, which supposedly also screamed luxury (which in-turn had to be embellished so as not to appear bland and un-interesting), and finally, to end up lining the inside of shoes, another supposed sign of wealth, became abhorrent to me.
“As a designer, you use fabric, any fabric, regardless of price, to create something beautiful and functional, hopefully. Fur has its limits. Its beauty lies in the fact that it suits the animal and not the human. Should we need to be extravagant or to keep warm, then today, fur is no longer the answer.”
“Watching girls that I work with, they don’t wear a lot of fur. This season, fur was just not what I was feeling at all. We’re not doing it for the foreseeable future, but I’m not following any Kering edicts or anything in particular. My personal feeling is that it feels like women are moving away from it and want things made from noble fibers or things that feel cozy and comfy but also that they feel ethically comfortably with.
“Also, I feel the way that women are dressing today from luxury brands is more and more daywear. It’s not so much about these super-special occasion things, but more like they’re going into a store for a nice dress or a cool pant or a nice sweater. Doing fur like this couture-y, really special piece is resonating a lot less than it used to. Maybe it’s just a mood I’m feeling with this collection. I see how the women around me dress, and I was responding to that.”
Julie de Libran, Sonia Rykiel
“[For fall 2018] I used Mongolian lamb and coupe fabrics that look like fur but they’re extremely light. There’s also faux fur and faux leather and shearling. [With fur] I’m being very careful to use it for more than one season, the same fur, the same pieces, to reuse [the actual samples]. I feel that you have to give it more value and realize the importance of it. I totally respect and understand people who don’t like it and don’t want it. That’s why I wanted to do faux fur as well.
“There’s a purpose for fur, for the warmth and the utility. It’s always existed, too.”
Marco de Vincenzo
“I have to admit I was among the firsts to use eco-fur on the catwalk since I had understood that real fur was going to be demonized. I think that looking for alternative materials is just one of the many ethical choices [that] fashion will have to make in the next few years….I don’t think we can make any [distinctions] between one animal and another. The only exception I can accept is for fur coming from the waste of the food supply chain.”
“I think fur is actually going to become more relevant because it is one of the things that is actually so sustainable. When you really look into the process of the fur, there is zero waste.”
Casey Cadwallader, Thierry Mugler (Cadwallader will show his first collection for the house, a capsule, in May in New York.)
“I am a fur and leather specialist. It was even on my visa. I worked at Loewe for a long time, and at J.Mendel for about six months. So, I was in the fur world in a big way for a while. I loved it. But as I’ve grown and matured a little bit, I’ve changed a little bit; my eating habits have even changed a little bit — I don’t eat cow anymore, for example.
“I really wanted to come out with Mugler being 100 percent animal-free. I’ve been doing a lot of research about the new biological leather that’s been created….I had this dream of working with this laboratory leather, sending it to French tanneries, having them refine and finish it to be the same technical properties as a beautiful French plongé and then, use that. Unfortunately, that’s not something that’s available to us today. The day that I can, we switch for sure. That would be amazing.”