Most of Kering’s fashion brands have halted the use of fur, starting with Gucci in 2017. Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta and Alexander McQueen also stopped using fur in recent years without announcing anything officially.
It is understood Saint Laurent and Brioni are the only remaining brands to have occasionally used animal fur, and that the new policy will apply to any fashion or accessory brand Kering might acquire in the future.
Mark Oaten, chief executive of the International Fur Federation, described the news as an “unfortunate surprise,” noting that “Kering has been actively working with the fur sector to develop some fantastic conservation programs around wild fur and supporting local farmers in Namibia.”
Oaten had worked with Kering on developing the Furmark certification system, which launched earlier this month.
He said the French group “seemed genuinely committed to sustainability and conservation and using natural resources such as fur. With this announcement, the efforts and milestones achieved, and work on regulations over the past many years, will go to waste.”
Oaten said the IFF remains “committed to providing a sustainable and natural material we are proud of representing and continues to work with major fashion conglomerates to promote the use of Furmark, our latest global certification and traceability system for natural fur.” He said the aim of Furmark is to provide quality, assurance, and consumer confidence in natural fur.
In an interview about Furmark earlier this month, Oaten told WWD that the IFF had worked closely with both LVMH and Kering on Furmark’s development and that both groups’ brands would be working exclusively with the Furmark label, if they choose to carry fur in their collections.
Specifically, he said the IFF had partnered with Kering in Namibia where SWAKara (South West Africa Karakul) lamb fur is produced by small farmers. The two organizations worked on issues such as predator management, inspection and machinery standards, and supporting local communities and conservation programs.