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By Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO for The Humane Society of the United States

12063505_1175642442480687_3902100194298767019_nLuxury designer Giorgio Armani announced this week that all of his labels will go 100 percent fur-free, marking a historic day for the fashion industry and making a case that it’s no longer necessary for any clothing retailer to use real fur.

Armani, one of the world’s best known fashion designers who is credited with pioneering red-carpet fashion, committed to the policy after working with The HSUS and the Fur Free Alliance, a coalition of 40 animal protection organizations in 28 countries working to end the fur trade. Starting this fall, all garments in the Armani Group’s collections will be fur-free.2356

“Technological progress made over the years allows us to have valid alternatives at our disposal that render the use of cruel practices unnecessary as regards animals,” Mr. Armani said in a statement. ”My company is now taking a major step ahead, reflecting our attention to the critical issues of protecting and caring for the environment and animals.”

I had the honor of meeting with Mr. Armani in 2009 to discuss the company’s use of fur. It was obvious then that the presence of fur in some of his lines weighed heavily on his conscience. I knew then that Mr. Armani cared deeply about animals and it would be just a matter of time before he directed the switch to fur-free alternatives.

He was dealing with the industry-wide assumption within the fashion industry that fur equates to luxury. That was always a questionable assumption, since you can buy strips of raccoon dog or fox fur for as little as $5 apiece or less. In fact, top quality faux fur can cost more. The quality of faux fur these days is exceptional and comes with no moral problems.

armani2016The announcement from Armani comes a year after Hugo Boss’s fur-free announcement. Increasingly, we are beginning to see brands and designers like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Stella McCartney, and Ralph Lauren disassociating themselves from animal cruelty and switching to cruelty-free alternatives that are indistinguishable from the real thing. Mr. Armani’s leadership makes it clear that designers can achieve luxury and creative freedom without real animal fur.

Photo Credit: Fur Free Alliance, Armani