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Welcome to the Club: Coach Goes Fur-Free by Fall 2019

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Fur is no longer fashionable, or at least that is what we can deduce from the string of fashion labels that have declared to abstain from using animal fabrics. The sale of fur has been declining in the United States in recent years, with shoppers growing more socially conscious opting for other alternatives such as faux fur, which might have influenced the move. Designers and fashion brands making the decision to go fur-free no longer comes as a surprise, but it is still a welcome statement from luxury labels. American company Coach is the latest of brands to shun fur after making an official statement this October.

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Joshua Schulman, CEO of Coach, said that “The decision to go fur-free is a truly meaningful milestone for the brand.” In 2015, Coach has drafted its corporate responsibility goals, which also covers animal welfare. The company is not doing it alone as it has called upon members of the Humane Society of the United States. The latter is expected to enlighten employees and leaders alike on how to push forward after renouncing the use of animal fur, which in turn also promotes an animal cruelty-free industry.

What does going fur-free entail for Coach, exactly? According to the brand, it will stop the use of mink, rabbit, and coyote skin all throughout production beginning in Fall 2019. The FW19 collection will be the first fashion show for the brand that will be devoid of these animal skins. The American luxury brand will still use angora, shearling and mohair, however—Coach is best known for its biker jackets that are lined with shearling, besides its handbags. In obtaining the materials, Coach has promised to only partner with suppliers that do not resort to practices abusive to animals.

Coach is not big on fur though, even prior to its announcement. Only 1% of its revenue can be attributed to its fur products, even as the company reportedly increased its profit by 3% since last year. Schulman assures that alternatives will more than make up for the space fur will leave behind. It has never been that significant historically to the business anyway.

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Fashion Is Slowly But Surely Going Against Fur

Coach is only the latest in already a long list of fur-free brands: Michael Kors, Versace, Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Maison Margiela, Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and Tommy Hilfiger, to name a few. Even Californian municipalities and cities are in the process of drafting policies to prohibit the manufacture and selling of fur. During the Spring Fashion Week, London’s shows went on without a glimpse of it. Online retailers have also joined the movement, with Net-a-Porter and Farfetch vowing to take the steps necessary to remove fur products from its pages.

Not everyone is receiving the development well, however. It has affected many businesses that depend heavily on fur, with some pointing out that the alternatives are not more environmentally friendly than animal skin, and even branding fur as more natural than the latter. Faux fur, for one, is mainly made with plastics, which have their own set of harmful effects and contribution to pollution. Other labels have addressed the problem by committing to steering away from virgin plastic.

Image credit: Coach, Tapestry, Pietro D’aprano/FilmMagic, Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images, Imaxtree


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