By Maddy Steele
In October 2017, this sartorial giant announced their pledge to become fur-free. Gucci’s CEO Marco Bizzarri told Vogue at the London College of Fashion that, “technology is now available that means that you don’t need to use fur. The alternatives are luxurious. There is just no need.” (https://www.vogue.co.uk/gallery/gucci-announces-it-is-going-fur-free). By removing fur from all of their collections, Gucci will help to save some of the 45 million animals that are brutally killed each year on fur farms. Gucci has joined others in this fur free alliance such as Versace, Stella McCartney, Tommy Hilfiger and Vivienne Westwood.maddysteele)]
Previously, Gucci had used fox, rabbit, Karakul, coyote and mink in their collections, all of which are products that are the result of mass torture and inhumane murder. Somehow there are still global giants that still use these furs. Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent are just a few that still routinely exploit these animals for their skins and furs, particularly focussing on fox and raccoon. Unfortunately, you can still even find some real fur products on the Gucci website (https://www.gucci.com/uk/en_gb/)as their use of fur is still on the brink of end point.
Gucci’s new pledge promotes a cruelty-free and ethical philosophy which makes those who have been protesting against use of fur hopeful that Gucci will lead the way for other luxury giants. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have been protesting for animal rights for 38 years. Global giants such as Gucci have been targets for Peta since its founding. However, PETA’s efforts don’t just stop at fur. PETA’s newer focus has been to push the ban of angora wool. After over 20 years of efforts to convert this Italian fashion house, Gucci has, just last month, banned angora wool in their products. This is said to be partly due to a disturbing video showing angora farming sourced by PETA that depicts a rabbit having its fur ripped from its skin while it screams in pain. All in the name of fashion. Gucci’s CEO has also pointed this decision to the younger members of the company who helped to re-design the company vision so that Gucci’s policies are more cruelty-free. This decision accommodates to the modern approach to consumerism where customers are far less accepting of animal cruelty.
Gucci’s decision as such a high-profile brand has opened questions for world-wide debate: Where do your clothes come from? Why isn’t every brand cruelty free? Their decision has bought activists to point fingers at the brands who are yet to make this step and puts pressure on these brands to do so. If you knew just how horrific the treatment for thousands of animals annually really is, would you still buy products from companies that are not cruelty-free? Gucci have helped to pave the road to a new era for luxury fashion, however, there is still a long way to go.
These decisions are hoped to be a further spark that discourages new designers from choosing products derived from animals as they will see the giants in the field turning away from this ancient tradition. Humans have been using fur in fashion since its birth. But when our technological advances provide synthetic fabrics that are even more luxurious than real fur, what is the point?maddysteele)]
Further brands that are making a stand to animal cruelty and pledging for fur free collections are Anthropologie, ASOS, Calvin Klein and Gap. ASOS became the first company to stop producing and selling angora back in 2013. This bold decision was followed by numerous retailers, however, some failed to recall products already available for consumers.
Gucci’s influence on the world of fashion could potentially catalyse the movement of other brands to cruelty-free production. At London Fashion Week over 90% of brands’ Autumn Winter 2018 collections were fur free but could Gucci’s pledge impact these numbers further, and on a global scale?
Modern consumerism hosts a relationship where the customer no longer looks at just the product, but, at the values that the company supports. In today’s society where anti-animal-cruelty activism is at its heights, the strength of consumer sentiment is a vital marketing point for retailers. Compassionate companies get sales. Social media provides a platform for influencers to spread the truth about the unjust treatment of animals into the main stream and this influence on the masses is unignorably prominent. Fur is dead! It is only a matter of time before mass animal cruelty becomes history.
We are a new generation who do not see animals as ours to be eaten, to be worn or used ruthlessly for our entertainment. Brands who want to survive in this new dynamic need to adapt for this. Gucci are helping to pioneer a face to fashion that is morally conscious, fair and cruelty-free. This prompts the question: Is vegan fashion the future?