Trends in fashion come and go, but it looks like there's one major change in department stores that may be here to stay. In a shift that Vogue has called "a sea change in the luxury industry," major retailers are banning one particular type of garment. Saks Fifth Avenue was the latest to announce that it will no longer carry this type of product, the last in a long list of stores that have embraced the same ban. Read on to find out which item major department stores are discontinuing.
Saks is the latest department store to ban the sale of fur.
Saks Fifth Avenue has announced plans to finally go fur-free, representatives shared on May 5. In a statement, the company explained that it has "committed to stop selling products made using animal fur through a phased approach by the end of fiscal 2022."
Tracy Margolies, chief merchandising officer at Saks, said of the decision, "We recognize that trends constantly evolve, and that the sale of fur remains a significant social issue. As such, eliminating it from our assortment is the right step for us to take at this time."
Saks isn't alone in its decision to ban animal fur from its shelves. Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Nordstrom have all announced similar plans to go fur-free, following luxury brands that have vowed to do the same. High-end designers including "Gucci, Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Coach, Phillip Lim, Stella McCartney, Prada, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, have already pledged to stop using animal fur in their products," Forbes reports.
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The entire state of California is also going fur-free.
Shocked to hear that major retailers will no longer be selling fur products? Then hold onto your vegan-fur hat. The entire state of California has also announced that it will become the first U.S. state to prohibit the sale of animal-fur by 2023. Certain exceptions may be made for some religious or cultural purposes, The New York Times reports.
According to Forbes, the states of New York, Rhode Island, and Hawaii have all considered similar legislation.
Animal rights groups say the change is long overdue.
Animal rights groups have been calling for the end of fur sales for years, arguing against the industry's notoriously cruel practices. Now, they're gaining support from the broader public. According to The Fur-Free Alliance, a worldwide coalition of over 50 animal welfare organizations, recent polls have found that 71 percent of Americans now favor a fur ban.
However, animal activists will have a long battle ahead before other animal products are pulled from shelves. Saks (and many other fur-banning stores) will continue to sell sheepskin, goatskin, cattle hide, down, feathers, and leather, the department store explained in its statement regarding the fur ban.
The fur industry is fighting for its place in stores.
As Vogue points out, the fur industry is unlikely to go quietly. They've countered animal activists' claims of cruelty by arguing that animal fur is more sustainable than PVC-based faux fur options. "Fur industry associations stress the material's long lifecycle, the fact that it's biodegradable and the absence of harsh chemicals in its processing as proof of real fur's inherent sustainability," says the magazine.
However, several new companies have produced faux fur products that are plant-based and biodegradable, signaling a possible way forward for ecologically and ethically conscious consumers. With department stores clearing out their fur inventory in droves, we're likely to see more of these faux options in the years to come.