One of the more hopeful trends to have come out of fashion in the past couple of years is seeing an industry wide shift towards cruelty-free clothing. With Versace, Gucci, Tom Ford, Jean Paul-Gaultier, Michael Kors, John Galliano, London Fashion Week, the city of Los Angeles all having pledged to go fur free, and with Coach planning to completely phase it out by 2019. Faux-fur and synthetic alternatives are increasingly becoming more common place on runways around the world and the stigma surrounding them has changed significantly.
However, going beyond just fur, Chanel announced today that they would be banning the use of exotic animal skins in their products going forward. That includes alligator, stingray, lizard, and snake skin in addition to leather and fur, which Chanel says it already uses very little.
In a statement to WWD, Chanel's President, Bruno Pavlovsky, cited that it has becoming increasingly difficult to source skins that lived up to the industry leader's ethical standards. Instead the company will turn to higher tech alternatives, such as plant based vegan leather and other synthetics, to maintain the same level of quality that the fashion house has been historically known for.
In addition to being an ethical move, the decision is actually a sustainable one. Switching to fur and animal skin alternatives can actually have a positive impact on a company's carbon footprint. It's fiscally prudent as well given that the prices of animal products are subject to scarcity and tariffs, opting for a synthetic alternative can in the long run prove to be a more stable source. Considering how many big names have already pledged to go fur free, with more being added to the list everyday, its safe to say that this trend will thankfully be here to stay.