MILAN, Italy — One of the fashion industry’s most iconic designers is turning her back on fur.
Miuccia Prada, the creative director and controlling shareholder of Milan-based Prada SpA, said in a statement that her company — also the maker of MiuMiu apparel and Church’s shoes — would no longer feature the material starting with her next runway show in September.
The brand joins the ranks of labels like Burberry Group Plc and Kering SA’s Gucci in giving up the material’s use, which has drawn ire from animal rights and environmental groups for decades. As consumers become increasingly concerned about the social and environmental impact of fashion, banning fur has become a way for brands to show they’re serious about curbing the industry’s most harmful excesses.
The move makes Prada — who used fur in some of her most notable collections, like spring 2011’s “banana” show — one of the biggest names to agree to an outright ban. She has already experimented with fur alternatives like the plush fabrics from German teddy bear-maker Steiff in recent seasons.
“Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products,” Prada said Wednesday.
Even as animal welfare concerns have seen fashion’s tide turn against real fur, and cities like San Francisco and Sao Paolo banned its sale, advocates for the material like LVMH’s Fendi brand have insisted that fur farming can be done ethically. They have also raised questions about the environmental impact of fake furs, arguing that the small plastic fibres they shed are not biodegradable and can easily find their way into the water supply when items are cleaned.
Other recent industry measures to clean up its reputation include a pact to stop hiring extremely thin models by LVMH and Kering, and internal audits on diversity at Gucci and Prada after the brands released products that were called out as insensitive for resembling blackface imagery.
By Robert Williams; Editor: Eric Pfanner, Marthe Fourcade and John Lauerman.