Alongside the entirety of London fashion week this year, British luxury brand Burberry has opted to eliminate fur from its lineup. The growing list of clothing brands who’ve chosen a fur-free future includes many other icons of the industry like Armani, Ralph Lauren, and Gucci among others. In a statement about Burberry's decision, CEO of the International Fur Federation (IFF) Mark Oaten maintained that, “Substituting natural fur with plastic petroleum-based materials, like fake fur, is in no shape or form neither luxury nor responsible and sustainable.” While both fur and petroleum-based fake furs produce ecological impact, the comprehensive list of fur-free clothing brands in all market segments suggests a clear industry shift away from the use of fur.
With ecological impact in mind, would replacing all fur or fur-trimmed garments with petroleum-based fake fur be less damaging? What other alternatives are available? And what consequences might emerge from the garment industry choosing to eliminate fur? Will fur become taboo to the point of eradication or will vintage and niche markets (think Canada Goose jackets) remain strong enough for fur to remain? Furthermore, if fur becomes culturally taboo, will leather and suede be next?