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  • Florence Jennaro

Dolce & Gabbana Moves Towards Faux Fur

On January 31, Dolce & Gabbana announced their elimination of using real fur in their 2022 fashion lines. Fedele Usai, Dolce & Gabbana’s communications and marketing officer, explained the decision stating, “Dolce & Gabbana is working toward a more sustainable future that can’t contemplate the use of animal fur.”

This announcement came just one week after luxury fashion brand Moncler made a similar promise. As more brands opt for synthetic fur, real fur versus fake fur arguments break down over environmental impact, monetary value, ethics, and physical feel. Many wearers love the feeling of real fur, while others opt for synthetic fur as texture and technologies continue to advance, leading to an intense debate over the future of fur in high fashion.

Photo Courtesy: Dolce & Gabbana

Founded in 1985, Dolce & Gabbana describe themselves as “one of the leading international companies in the luxury goods sector to have experienced continuous growth over the years, becoming a recognised and influential company in the world of luxury brands.” Beyond their retail products, Dolce & Gabbana emphasizes a “constant endeavor to conform to ethically exemplary conduct” through a dedication to integrity and ethics, and they accordingly hold themselves and their subsidiaries accountable through their missions and goals found on their website. Section 3.7, “Relations with the Environment,” reflects their announcement, stating their commitment to sustainability in every aspect of the business: customers, employees, suppliers and business partners, with repercussions and investigations into any violators of the code of conduct.

Dolce & Gabbana’s removal of fur signifies a larger trend in the designer fashion industry. The Wall Street Journal referenced this move away from fur in its announcement of Dolce & Gabbana’s change: “Fur is increasingly falling out of favor at luxury fashion houses.”

In the 1990’s high fashion brands started facing resistance towards real fur. Since then, more and more brands have responded to consumer demands. Dolce & Gabbana follows numerous other high fashion designers’ announcements. Armani, Gucci, Burberry, Chanel, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Canada Goose and Balenciaga all pledge to decrease or end their fur sales within the next two years. In addition to high fashion designers, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales department stores have pulled fur from their shelves. Italy banned fur farming entirely last year.

François-Henri Pinault, CEO and chairman of French conglomerate Kering, emphasized that “the world has changed, along with our clients, and luxury naturally needs to adapt to that.” Evidently, the fashion industry agrees with Pinault. Dolce & Gabbana’s turn towards faux fur appears late in the line-up of fashion brands ending the use of fur, but their mission and codes align with the goal to help the environment and company thrive.

Top fashion magazine Vogue responded to the announcement with the headline: “Dolce & Gabbana goes fur-free, following Moncler: After a spate of announcements in recent months, luxury is rapidly turning its back on animal fur in favor of plant-based and vegan alternatives.”

The Italian label promised to phase out fur but continues to work with furriers to create "a sustainable faux fur alternative that uses recycled and recyclable materials." They also ensure their dedication to “preserving artisans’ jobs and know-how otherwise in danger of fading.” The industry’s rapid move towards faux fur threatens furriers’ lively hoods. Furriers range in backgrounds, but an important group of furriers come from Indigenous communities. In response to Canada Goose’s move towards faux fur in 2021, Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya maintained that Canada protects Indigenous peoples’ right to hunt, fish, and trap, and therefore called the decision “very wrong.” The debate over faux versus real fur affects not only the animals and environment, but the lives of those who depend on the industry.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) celebrate this announcement due to their firm belief that real fur deeply harms animals and fuels a cruel industry of farming animals for fur. For over two decades, PETA pressured high fashion companies to ban fur and angora, and they see this announcement as a reflection of their dedicated protesting, which also influenced hundreds of major designers and retailers—including Armani, Burberry, Chanel, Gucci, Macy’s, Prada, and Versace—to ban it prior. Outside of animal cruelty, the carbon dioxide emissions from farming animals for fur results toxic chemicals spilling into waterways.

However, the removal of fur does not signal an end to environmental damage caused by the fashion industry. Faux fur creation also poses substantial environmental threats as it uses large amounts of microplastics. Although both of these processes harm the environment, PETA claims real fur causes more damage, and right now the public and fashion brands appear to agree. Dolce & Gabbana points towards their true goal of a sustainable faux fur alternative that uses recycled and recyclable materials rather than microplastics. Using second hand or sustainably sourced faux fur ensures the safety of the environment while maintaining high quality fur products.

Following suit with other companies, Dolce & Gabbana plays follow the leader, but they hold the potential to create a new form of synthetic, sustainable fur with the proper dedication and funding. Dolce & Gabbana has not stated where they will find their faux fur, but ideally the result will benefit the environment and high fashion as a whole.

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