Fur protests take centre stage at London Fashion Week

Lydia Karayianni 22 February 2018
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Whilst anti-fur protests during fashion week are nothing new, they have dominated London Fashion Week 2018. From activists storming the runway to top-less PETA supporters painted with ‘wear your own skin’ slogans across their torsos, anti-fur demonstrations have grabbed the headlines at London Fashion Week. Moreover, the decades of protests appear to have made a mark as 95% of designers taking part in London Fashion Week have confirmed to the British Fashion Council that they will not be using fur. With these recent proactive developments in the fashion world, it seems like 2018 will be the year that the fashion industry finally begins the movement against the unethical, cruel, and outdated use of fur.

As demand for ethically made clothing is growing, brands are responding to pressure to provide ethical faux alternatives. Michael Kors was the newest joiner to the assembly of major fashion brands vowing to go fur free, including Gucci, Armani, Yoox, Ralph Lauren and Stella. Michael Kors announced that due to technological advances in fabrications, they will create a ‘luxe aesthetic’ using non-animal fur.

Fur farming has been illegal in the UK for nearly two decades, but fur can be imported from overseas. However, another recent victory for the fur free movement is the announcement of Norway, one of Europe’s largest fur producers, to introduce a total ban on fur farming. The ban will put an end to the 700,000 minks and 110,000 foxes killed every year.

However, the optimism for a movement against fur in the fashion industry is not universal. One of Britain’s bestselling fashion magazines, British Vogue, decided to feature a full-page advert for the International Fur Federation in their February issue. The IFF advert promoted the tagline ‘Furnow and Forever’. Meanwhile, Cara Delevingne down the runway for Burberry in a rainbow-striped cape made entirely of faux fur. Similarly, Kendal Jenner sparked outrage at Milan fashion week for wearing what appeared to be real fur. One Twitter user wrote: ‘@KendallJenner Wearing #fur in 2018 is not beautiful, it shows you’re an ignorant and pretty empty being. #FurIsDead’

These actions mark that the battle against fur is not over yet. However, with harsh backlash for their actions in the media, we can only hope that the remaining fur promoters learn from their mistakes and their public shaming deters others. The strong backlash is another sign that fur no longer has a place in fashion. To quote Marco Bizzarri, CEO of Gucci, fur is no longer ‘modern’.