Environment

Versace to drop fur from its fashions, Donatella Versace says

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The letter says: "Mrs May, the animal fur arriving in British ports is from animals who have suffered a lifetime in tiny barren cages, often driven insane by neglect. It is from animals who have been brutally electrocuted or gassed, and sometimes even skinned alive. It is from animals caught and left for days in barbaric leg-hold traps. They endure all of this to then have their fur processed into a frivolous trim on a hat, coat, shoe or handbag. We should not trade on their suffering."

It concludes: "Like you, we want Britain to be a ‘world leader on animal welfare’, so we urge you make the compassionate decision for a #FurFreeBritain."

A raccoon dog in a cage at a fur farm in China.

Photo: Humane Society International

Versace has traditionally included fur from a variety of species, including mink and fox, across its ranges.

In response to Donatella Versace's announcement, Nicola Beynon, Humane Society International's Head of Campaigns in Australia, said: "Versace is a massively influential luxury brand that symbolises excess and glamour, and so its decision to stop using fur shows that compassionate fashion has never been more on trend.

"Versace is following in the footsteps of fellow fashion giants Gucci and Michael Kors who have dropped fur in the last six months.

"Such influential brands turning their backs on cruel fur makes the few designers like Fendi and Burberry who are still peddling fur look increasingly out of touch and isolated.”

Four Paws Australia, the Australian representative of the Fur Free Alliance’s Fur Free Retailer Program also commend the move.

“Versace’s decision is good news for ethical consumers in Australia as it provides them with another guaranteed fur-free brand to shop from,” country director of FOUR PAWS Australia, Jeroen van Kernebeek, said.

"People may not realise that trims and collars from real animal fur are prevalent in Australia in both high-end fashion and mass-market products.

"Due to inadequate labelling laws, the cruel products are not always easy to distinguish from their synthetic cruelty-free alternatives so Four Paws Australia encourages consumers to check the Australian Fur Free Retailers list of guaranteed fur-free brands and retailers."

Last October, Gucci announced it would no longer use animal fur, beginning with its spring/summer 2018 collection.

"Being socially responsible is one of Gucci's core values, and we will continue to strive to do better for the environment and animals," Gucci's president and chief executive Marco Bizzarri said during the 2017 Kering Talk at The London College of Fashion.

Other top designers that have banned fur from their collections include Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Armani, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood and Tommy Hilfiger.

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Steve Jacobs is a senior journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald and smh.com.au. He is also an author and a lawyer.

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