Chanel Promises to Stop Using Exotic Animal Skins

Chanel Promises to Stop Using Exotic Animal Skins

PETA can now cross all future Chanel presentations off its schedule of animal rights protests. On Monday, the day before the French fashion house's pre-fall Metiers d'Art show at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chanel announced that it has initiated a ban on exotic animal skins in its designs. The brand will "no longer use exotic skins in our future creations," Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel's president of fashion, told WWD.

Pavlovsky explained that the ban extends to crocodile, lizard, snake, and stingray, and also includes fur, the use of which Chanel has already majorly rolled back in recent years. "It is our experience that it is becoming increasingly difficult to source exotic skins," the brand said in a statement, per WWD, noting its intention to begin innovating "a new generation of high-end products" sans skins and furs. In place of these animal products, Chanel will reportedly turn to fabric and leathers generated by the "agri-food" industry.

The century-old brand is just the latest in an impressively long string of fashion heavyweights to outlaw fur and other animal products from its designs. In the last year alone, Gucci, Versace, Burberry, Michael Kors, and Maison Margiela, among others, have all vowed to go fur-free. "Fur? I am out of that," Donatella Versace told The Economist's 1843 magazine in March. "I don't want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn't feel right."

Other designers, meanwhile, have been reluctant to go completely fur-free before a sustainable faux alternative has been developed; not only are some of the commonly used processes of creating faux furs toxic to the environment, but those (non-biodegradable) fur alternatives are also thrown away more readily than real furs. "I've been vegan for about the last year. When you look at how most of our meat, our animal products, are raised, from a health standpoint, I didn't feel that I should eat those things anymore. The fur thing, of course, is a natural thing. [Going vegan] starts to make you question that," Tom Ford said when asked by WWD earlier this year about his namesake brand's continued use of fur.

In a sort of compromise, Ford explained that he stopped using furs like mink and sable, since those animals are now bred almost exclusively for their fur, but will continue to use skins that are "food byproducts," like leather and shearling. "I have been very conscious of using animal skins that are food byproducts," he said. "Because whether I'm consuming meat or not, other people are, so these are things that are collected."

Related: Proof of Fashion's Love of Animals From the W Archives

Tilda Swinton photographed by Juergen Teller for W Magazine, September 2008.

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