By Rosemary Feitelberg
with contributions from Kali Hays
 on December 15, 2017
PETA activists disrupted a Michael Kors talk with Alina Cho at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in June.

After years of intermittent protests against Michael Kors, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the company is going fur-free.

After meeting with chairman and chief executive officer John Idol on Friday morning, Dan Mathews, PETA senior vice president, said the agreement will include the recently acquired Jimmy Choo line. PETA activists have demonstrated outside of Kors runway shows as well as the brand’s freestanding stores. In June, animal rights supporters caused a ruckus during the designer’s question-and-answer session with Alina Cho at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. About 20 demonstrators chanted, marched in the Grace Rainey Rogers auditorium’s aisles making animal sounds, unfurled an antifur banner from the balcony that read “F!!k FUR.” and took to the stage, taunting the designer. Idol, and Kors’ husband Lance LePere,  swiftly exited their front-row seats after the protest started.

In February, another rally, albeit considerably more lackluster, was staged outside of the designer’s SoHo store. At that time, a handful of PETA supporters held antifur signs and trailed the “Grim Reaper,” a scythe-carrying man dressed in black wearing an oversize characterlike head meant to resemble the designer.

Kors chief executive officer John Idol confirmed that the brand would indeed be going fur-free by December 2018, noting the decision “marks a new chapter as our company continues to evolve its use of innovative materials.”

Kors has produced a small collection dedicated to fur for several years, but chief creative officer Michael Kors echoed Idol’s sentiment, adding: “We now have the ability to create a luxe aesthetic using nonanimal fur.”

These advancements in faux will be part of Kors upcoming fall 2018 show during New York Fashion Week in February. The company declined to comment further on the decision.

The Humane Society of the United States lauded the move and said it has been in discussions with Kors since 2007, when raccoon fur was eliminated from the line.

“With the advances in faux fur and the introduction of other innovative materials, it’s becoming clear that there is simply no reason to continue using a product that causes so much pain and suffering,” HSUS president and ceo Wayne Pacelle said. “If a company chooses to retain the look and feel of fur, it can do so without contributing to cruelty.”

Michael Kors is the second major designer to reveal a fur-free policy in recent months, following in the footsteps of Gucci, which unveiled its plans in October. The decision marked a significant change by Gucci and its creative director Alessandro Michele. The decision aligned the Italian brand with the practices of its Kering stablemate Stella McCartney, who has long eschewed the use of fur and leather. HSUS said it first appealed to Gucci in 2009.

Kors staffers reached out to PETA last week about meeting to discuss the fur issue, according to Matthews. Like Gucci, the decision for Kors to go fur-free was years in the making. Matthews said he had met with Idol and Kors to make his case for an antifur policy 15 years ago. “We had an idea it was going to go in this direction, but we were thrilled when they said they would no longer be doing fur,” Matthews said.

There may be some fur items in stores next year from already produced collections, but Kors will not design fur items going forward. That will also be the case for Jimmy Choo, which Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. agreed to buy for $1.35 billion in July. PETA had protested at “dozens” of Kors runway shows and store openings, not to mention the Met event over the years, Matthews said.