Fashion brand Saint Laurent will stop using fur from 2022. This is what Kering, the French parent company of the fashion brand, announced today. The Italian fashion brand Brioni, which is part of the parent company, will no longer use fur in its collections. Saint Laurent and Brioni are the last brands of the parent company that still use furs.
Gucci was the company‘s first major brand to announce that it stopped using fur in 2017. Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen among others followed. Kering says in his statement today about improving animal welfare and says that “the world has changed, along with our customers and luxury needs to adapt to it”.
Cessation of fur is not a recent development. One of the first major brands to announce that it quit fur was Calvin Klein in 2014, and lead designer Klein said, among other things, that it was not in line with “my own considerations about humane treatment of animals” and that fur simply no longer fit the company’s philosophy”. Other luxury brands that no longer use fur include Chanel, Armani and Versace.
Going with the time
José Teunissen, dean of the London College of Fashion, also speaks about the brands that have preceded Kering and is therefore little surprised that Kering stops using fur. “Classic couture involved using the very best materials. Fur belonged to that in the past as well. You can see that furs are increasingly being taken into account throughout the discussion about climate change, sustainability and the way we deal with beasts.”
Although a number of major fashion brands still use fur, Teunissen says they no longer wear it big. “But that doesn‘t mean no one uses it anymore. It can also be in small things: in the lining of clothing or accessories”. However, she thinks that those companies will stop using fur in the long term. “I think at some point they feel they need to go with their time.”
Animal rights activists and organizations like PETA have been calling for companies to stop using fur for years. Animal rights organization Humane Society International says it is happy with Friday’s decision and says “to keep putting pressure on the few other fashion companies selling fur”.
Teunissen thinks that after fur, traditional leather could eventually disappear in fashion. “The industry is already looking at how leather can be produced more sustainably, for example by using less polluting tanning techniques and sustainable paint.”
She also finds that the fashion industry is increasingly experimenting with non-animal materials. She also sees that at her training institute in London. “Our bag and shoe design training was very focused on leather and now you see that students are increasingly working with different materials. For example, they make bags from pieces of canvas that are left over or from other recycled materials.”
Experiments also involve leather made from waste or animals with a large surplus. For example, leather made from jellyfish was already shown at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven in 2019 and is also made from fish scales of leather.
Some fashion brands use leather that is made from fruit waste. Teunissen: “That is still in the experimental phase. For example, you have piñatex, leather made from pineapple leaves, but it is still a question whether that is strong enough. But with innovations like this, it can go hard. You can already see in the sneaker industry that is being fully thought about this.”