As of its Spring 2018 collection, Gucci will no longer use, promote or publicize animal fur. The iconic label now joins the ranks of other major prestige apparel brands like Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, who have all ditched fur. Reportedly, these brands have stopped using fur in an attempt to promote modernity, enhance creativity, and expand their target markets.
Whether you’re an emerging designer still trying to identify your label’s creative direction, or an established designer whose garments are decidedly fur heavy, the following serves to explore the three main reasons behind major apparel brands going furless or make a significant change in order to promote their brand to a wider audience.
A Sign of the Times
Real fur once represented the height of luxury, the ultimate object of desire. However, Gucci’s President and CEO makes clear that the same is not true today: “I don’t think it’s still modern […] [i]t’s a little bit outdated.” Indeed, recent fashion trends echo that the future of fashion is fur-free. This faux fur push from major industry players might mean that current designers looking to keep up with trends may well have to go faux fur.
No longer relying on the use of a traditional material like fur means that your label’s creativity can jump in many different directions. By eliminating the use of fur, you open the door to a myriad of alternatives. For designers worried that faux fur will lead to less luxurious alternatives, Hannah Weiland, founder of the Shrimps Faux Fur Fashion Brand shares that “I think it’s a misconception that faux fur is not a luxurious product – given how incredible modern technology is, you can now essentially produce faux fur with the same level of softness, quality and warmth as real fur, which makes the argument for real fur much harder”.
Larger Target Market
In 2015, 81% of Fortune 500 companies published sustainability reports, up from just 20% in 2011. Why the jump in disclosure? As we often see these days, businesses are taking cues from millennials. It’s expected that by 2020, millennials will represent over half of the entire workforce. This means that labels not thinking about how to interact with millennials are in serious trouble.
With millennials being so ethically minded, going furless can make your label appeal to a set of values that this significant portion of consumers deeply values. Appealing to a larger target market is likely to correlate to a healthier bottom line – an advantage that’s always in style!
On the Other Hand…
It’s true that much of the discussion surrounding furless fashion focuses on what appear to be the benefits of this choice. It’s also true that many perceived cons surface in the discussion of faux fur. For starters, it’s argued that fake fur is not environmentally friendly – unlike real fur, fake fur is not biodegradable. Another disadvantage is that many faux fur pieces on the market are not as durable as real fur. While consumers regularly needing to purchase a new faux fur coat might not appear to be disadvantageous to your bottom line, it’s ultimately another major con for the environment.
Whether you find yourself convinced by what prestigious designers identify as the main incentives to go faux fur, or are still dreaming of all the furry designs you have in mind for the winter, one thing is certain – the fashion industry is experiencing a slow yet definite progression toward a faux fur future. Seeking legal advice can help you both with navigating faux fur certifications and developments, and in exploring all that is involved in the sourcing, importing/ exporting, and being a retailer of, real fur.
As with all Fashion By Law Posts, this information does not constitute legal advice. For legal inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: whatweadore.com
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