The drumbeat of change continues—and today, two more major fashion houses join the list of those that have gone fur-free. Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, which are both owned by parent company Kering, quietly revealed that they have stopped using fur in a company filing. Although Balenciaga had phased out fur since very early on in Demna Gvasalia’s tenure as creative director, this is the first time the brand’s policy has been publicly iterated. Several other Kering brands, including Gucci and Bottega Veneta, have already committed to dropping fur.
The move is both a recognition of sustainability and changing consumer tastes. While dropping fur once seemed like a non-starter for the most luxurious of labels, it's quickly becoming common practice with retailers, magazines, and even fashion schools. Outside of the Kering umbrella, brands including Versace, Prada, Armani, Michael Kors, and Margiela have all gone fur-free in the past few years. Any fluffy, fuzzy stuff you happen to see on those runways is typically of the faux variety.
Sales of fur have been in a “free fall” over the past few years, while demand for vegan alternatives increased by 258 percent in the United States and the United Kingdom in 2019 alone, according to Vogue Business.
Fur may only be the start, as many brands are now reconsidering their relationship to traditional leather. Incidentally, Kering is an investor in the company that has developed Mylo leather, a cruelty-free alternative that is made out of mushrooms.