Prada announced it would stop to use fur starting with the summer 2020 women collections. Lisa Maree Williams Images
Updated May 23, 2019 5:22 p.m. ET
Prada Group has become the latest high-fashion brand to stop using fur in its products amid mounting pressure from animal rights groups as well as shifts in consumer attitudes.
The Italian luxury fashion group announced Wednesday that it will no longer use animal fur in its designs or new products, and it will no longer purchase any quantity of raw fur, starting from its springsummer 2020 women’s collections.
“Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products,” said Miuccia Prada, head of the fashion chain, in a news release.
It will continue to sell its existing fur products through its brands, such as Prada, Miu Miu, Church’s, Car Shoe, and Pasticceria Marchesi, until it’s gone.
Prada’s fur-free policy is a result of year-long collaboration with Fur Free Alliance, a coalition of more than 50 animal protection organizations from over 40 countries, and the Human Society of the United States among other animal rights group.
“The Prada Group with its brands now joins a growing list of fur-free brands that are responding to consumers’ changing attitudes towards animals,” said Joh Vinding, Chairman of the Fur Free Alliance, in a statement.
Fur-Free high fashion
“ They don’t look at fur as luxury. That’s not what they aspire to. ”
—Kate Newlin, retail consultant
“It’s about time,” says Kate Newlin, principal of New York-based Kate NewlinConsulting and author of Shopportunity! How To Be A Retail Revolutionary. As the younger generation age into the luxury fashion market, the culture shifts. “They don’t look at fur as luxury,” she says. “That’s not what they aspire to.”
Generation Y, born between 1980 and 1994, and Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2015, represented 47% of global personal luxury goods consumers in 2018, accounting for one-third of the total €260 billion US$290 billion in global annual sales, according to Bain & Co.’s luxury goods market report.
And their influence on the luxury market will continue to grow in the coming years. By 2025, Generations Y and Z will represent approximately 55% of the luxury goods market, according to Bain & Co.
“These new generations have formidable attitudes toward animal abuse,” Newlin says. “High fashion for them is not only something beautifully made, but also a statement of who they are.”
Although consumer attitudes play an important role, it’s never just one thing that brings on a sea change, Newlin points out. Animal rights group and different governments around the world have been working toward a fur-free fashion industry for many years.
Many European countries have policies against fur farming. In 2000, the U.K. became the first country to ban fur farming. Norway, once the world’s largest producer of fox pelts, decided to prohibit fur farming in early 2018.
In the United States, San Francisco banned fur sale last March, while Los Angeles issued a ban last September, which will go into effect in 2021.
The Fur Free Alliance’s retailer program now includes 1,000 companies, showing that this global movement is gaining momentum fast. And Prada is joining a growing list of high-fashion brands, including Burberry, Versace, Gucci, Tom Ford, Michael Kors, and Armani, to stop using fur. These labels still use leather in their products, however.
When the British company Burberry announced last September that they’d stop using fur, its chief creative officer took to to claim it a “new era” of “modern luxury.”
The fur-free policy is not likely to have a huge impact on Prada’s sales numbers, Newlin predicts. “It will allow designers to focus on telling the story of the brands, and rolling out new products in tune with consumer attitudes,” she says.
Prada Group recorded annual sales of €3.1 billion US$3.5 billion last year.
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