PRADA STRIKES BACK: A few days after animal rights supporters targeted the Prada Group in an international campaign, the company has responded by highlighting its “gradual and concrete reduction” of fur products and played up its use of man-made fibers such as nylon.

Trying to turn up the pressure on Prada to adopt a fur-free policy, animal protection activists banded together last week. Spearheaded by the Fur Free Alliance, a group of 40 animal-protection organizations from 30-plus countries, the initiative calls on supporters to use social media, phone calls and e-mails to reach out to Prada asking the company to stop using fur in its collections. With additional outreach help through Care2, their efforts started in Japan on Sept. 6.

The company is open to having a dialogue with animal activists associations and is trying to set up meetings with them in the coming weeks, a Prada spokeswoman said this morning.

In a statement released by Prada on Tuesday, it was noted how some animal-rights associations have been sending thousands of e-mails to the company, including the personal e-mail accounts of some of its employees, demanding that the production of furs be stopped. “We believe it is important to stress that all the advertising campaigns of the group’s brands, together with the fashion shows and displays in the shop windows, have not been presenting these products for some time, in order to discourage demand from consumers,” Prada said.

“This has led, as also recently stated by its president in questions from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, to a gradual and concrete reduction in the marketing of these products which, to date, represent less than 0.1 percent of the entire production.” the statement read.

“Moreover, the Prada Group — which has always distinguished itself for the research and innovation of the materials used in its collections — has recently increased the use of technical fabrics that represent both an alternative to materials of animal provenance and a concrete application of sustainable production,” it stated. “A recent example is Prada nylon, the iconic material at the center of the new collections, which is part of a wider group strategy aimed at reducing the environmental impact of its production; indeed, a program for the provision of nylon made with recycled yarns is being finalized with suppliers.”

Animal rights supporters are leaning on Prada with the hope that the brand will follow in the footsteps of Gucci, Versace, Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, which pledged to stop using fur in their collections. Less than a week ago, Burberry decided to stop using real fur starting with Riccardo Tisci’s first collection and end its practice of destroying unsalable products with immediate effect.

In closing, Prada noted how it “has adopted a procedure aimed at a rigid and systematic control of its supply chain to ensure compliance with best international practices, including as regards animal welfare. Through this approach, Prada provides its customers with a transparent, traceable supply chain located in countries that adopt the most stringent regulations in this area. The rules adopted by the group are often more stringent than the law requires, to the point of breaking off collaborative relationships with any suppliers deemed to be less than virtuous.”

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