As some companies remove fur from their offerings, the future of the commodity is in question. WWD contacted retailers to hear their opinions on the matter, and a few brave souls responded.
ON THE RECORD
Mario Grauso, president of Holt Renfrew
As a luxury retailer, we continue to listen to our customers’ wants and needs, while keeping a close eye on the industry and the activities of our vendors. As the industry changes, we look to change with it.
While we continue to offer an assortment that does include some fur, we made the decision to close six of the seven Holt Renfrew fur salons in 2017.
While we are evaluating our position — we continue to source fur products from our key vendors for now, to ensure that we are delivering the assortment our customers are seeking — and continue to see strong sales with many of our vendor-driven fur businesses.
On closing six fur salons: We as a business are assessing sensitive materials within the industry and have highlighted fur as one of these. Due to this sensitivity, we decided to minimize our own branded fur business and will continue to evaluate our position.
Ulric Jerome, chief executive officer of Matchesfashion.com
Customer feedback lies at the heart of our business and our consumers are already very well-informed on the sustainability debate including the issues around all types of materials including leather, real fur, faux fur, shearling and cotton.
We have partnered with Eco-Age to develop and launch our Code of Conduct in 2018 across all our suppliers. This Code ensures that any fur we sell comes from certified sources and encourages our designers to use alternatives. The Code of Conduct also goes much further — looking at every aspect of the supply chain and all the materials used in production.
Sarah Stewart, buying director at Maxfield
Our position is regulated by the city of West Hollywood, so we don’t buy fur because we can’t sell it.
[Customers’ reactions to fur] are split across the board. Clearly we have clients who wear fur, such as Rick Owens’ clients who have purchased his fur pieces from us before the ban. Then you have people who feel strongly in the other direction. Faux fur is so much better than it used to be, so a lot of people switched to wearing it because of that, or because of increasing social consciousness. But there will always be clients who won’t buy faux simply because they love real fur. There really are no clear delineations. There are high-end clients who do or don’t wear it. It’s not necessarily an age thing. I would say to each his or her own. Because I don’t have to buy fur for the store, it just means you move into [buying] something else.
Allison Samek, chief executive officer of Fred Segal
The decision to not sell fur at our flagship was made for us by the City of West Hollywood back in 2013. Because our new store is located in the heart of West Hollywood, we knew before opening that fur wasn’t an option. More importantly, we are fully supportive of the ban and have now extended it to our LAX airport store as well.
We had individual stores within Fred Segal that sold fur up until a few years ago, but as our flagship is located in West Hollywood, we didn’t sell fur when we opened there. We recently asked our licensee partners to stop selling fur as well. LAX sold fur last year and we asked them to pull it this year.
On customer feedback: We were surprisingly getting very strong antifur feedback at LAX this year! Last year we carried a fur-lined jacket line that sold very well, but this year we received several negative comments about it and made the decision to pull the product and align with our West Hollywood store policy. We don’t think fur is missed at our flagship, and the faux-fur options these days are great.
On brands saying no to fur: I think it is really about listening to the customer and keeping an open mind to the political climate. We have to be open to evolving and admitting that things that once worked well for us may not work as well the next year. We saw this at our airport store and made the change happen quickly.
Matteo James Moroni, internal audit & sustainability at Yoox Net-a-porter Group
Our move to go fur-free reflected our customers’ growing desire to see the industry make responsible choices. As a sustainable business, our goal is to act as an industry-wide catalyst for change, and it has been exciting to see the number of luxury brands embrace the commitment since we announced our decision.
Barneys New York, corporate statement
As a specialty luxury retailer, Barneys New York is constantly reevaluating this topic and carefully considering how our policies can provide customers with the most sustainable fur products. We are taking the necessary measures to make the right choices and prioritize the ethical treatment of animals.
David Jones, corporate statement
David Jones has had a ban on the sale of fur in its stores since 2002, a reflection of its commitment to the welfare of animals. To ensure that David Jones continues to meet this commitment, a Supplier Code of Conduct is in place to be signed by all suppliers which states that all suppliers must ensure that real fur is not used in any product supplied to David Jones. This agreement is monitored for compliance by a dedicated Ethical Sourcing team, which drives continuous improvement in all ethical aspects of the supply chain as part of the David Jones Good Business Journey.
Harvey Nichols, corporate statement
Harvey Nichols is committed to sustainable and responsible practice across all areas of its business, and ethical trading is an important part of this program. Harvey Nichols requires any brand that uses fur to adhere to the Animal Sourcing Principles as set out by the Sustainable Luxury Working Group.
Myer, from its fur policy statement
Myer is committed to a corporate culture of ethical and socially responsible behavior, and meeting the expectations of key stakeholders.
With regard to the use of fur products, Myer is attuned to the ethical and social values of our customers and the wider community, and recognizes that there is a community sensitivity associated with the use of fur obtained from animals by any means.
Myer is committed to not selling merchandise that contains fur. Only merchandise containing fake or faux fur will be permitted.
TAKING THE FIFTH
On the other hand…
Galleries Lafayette — declined comment
Harrods spokesperson — “I’m afraid we don’t comment on fur.”
Isetan Mitsukoshi — declined comment
Lane Crawford Joyce Group — declined comment
Le Bon Marché/24 Sèvres — declined comment
Moda Operandi — no response, but a response is still possible
Neiman Marcus — declined comment
Nordstrom — declined comment
Printemps — declined comment
Rinascente — declined comment
Saks Fifth Avenue — declined comment
Takashimaya — declined comment
Tsum — no response