New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Week present us with beautiful collections from highly skilled designers, creative directors and fashion houses twice a year, but they also present the industry with protests and conflict.
At London Fashion Week’s main headquarters, Brewer Street Car Park, onlookers gazed in amazement as the ever so chic, flamboyant and stylish appeared from far and wide to attend prestigious shows, presentations and events by designers such as Burberry, Sophia Webster, Topshop Unique and Oliver Spencer. However, not everyone gazed in amazement, some scoured in disbelief that the industry could be so cruel.
A group of protesters from The Big Cover Up, stood outside the main venue with laptops playing videos of animals locked in cages, screeching and being tortured. Filling the air with their protests asking 'how much pain is in your wardrobe', responses and reactions were mixed. For some, chills ran down their spines, for others the protests went unnoticed.
Just days later, as Milan Fashion Week kicked off, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) took to the stage to publicly champion vegan fashion. Outside Piazza del Duomo, 3 models sported designer vegan clothing in a bid to show that animals need not be hurt just for fashionable purposes. Wearing garments including a faux-leather jacket by designer Armani, who declared he will no longer use animal skin in his designs, a wool free scarf from Missoni and faux-fur gilet from Dondup, the three models grabbed the attention of the industry, the same way The Big Cover Up had in London.
In a statement, PETA announced that every year, millions of animals are killed for the clothing industry. Fur farms and slaughterhouses across the world cater for the fashion industry producing the leather, fur and wool needed to create garments such as the leather jacket, fur boots or wool jumper. But is this level of torture really necessary? Some would say yes, but I for one say no.\
With the number of vegans in the world growing at a fast pace, much to the disgust of meat-eaters, more garments are being produced that are vegan friendly. Luxury designers are presenting faux collections and writing off the use of animal skin completely. Earlier this year, fashion house Armani pledged to go 100% fur free, with the beginning of this unbelievable change starting with the 2016 AW collections.
- “I am pleased to announce that the Armani Group has made a firm commitment to abolish the use of animal fur in its collections.” – Giorgio Armani
Designer and animal-rights activist Stella McCartney launched her Fur Free Fur range at Paris Fashion Week, using only synthetic fiber that has a similar appearance to animal fur. McCartney has always been honest about her feelings towards animal cruelty and the use of their skin and meat for food. She is openly a vegetarian and her late mother Linda McCartney put her name to a vegetarian and vegan food range.
For vegans, vegetarians and those wanting to go animal cruelty free, there are numerous clothing, cosmetic and food brands around the world, all of which are listed on the PETA website here: http://www.peta.org.uk/living/peta-approved-vegan/
What are your thoughts on the use of animal products in the fashion industry? What items do you own that are derived from animal product? We want to know!