Written by: Mar Cinca
In the last decade, brands have started to get more conscious about animal abuse, linked to the growth of organisms such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Going against them is bad publicity, and labels have realised it, specially after their shocking campaings with celebrities such as Eva Mendes or Penélope Cruz.
Precisely after watching a PETA’s video where the conditions of one of their supplier farms in the argentinian region were shown, Stella McCartney decided to give up Patagonian wool, and announced it in the company’s Instagram. Also due to the complaints of PETA, who discovered abuses on the angora rabbits in some of their chinese factories, Inditex will abstain from the use of angorine wool, following the path of other brands such as French Connection, Calvin Klein or Tommy Hilfiger.
Even the highest luxury brands are affected by PETA’s scandals, who alerted Jane Birkin of the inhumaine practices in one of the alligator farms that work for Hermès. The actress, ardent protector of animal rights, requested the removal of her name from the iconic bag. Axel Dumas, Hermès’ CEO, looked into these farms and found that, in the Texas farm case, it was only a one-time malfunction. After a severe warning, and the threat of a sue if that situation were to happen again, Hermès declared that in case of new malpractice, they would cease their collaboration with the farm. Secondly, they discovered that the Zimbabwe farm video was made before their association, and the brand has opened an strict audit procedure to all their leather providers.
Pro-animal intiatives can also be found in other areas, not directly related with fashion. Emirates, supporting United for Wildlife, has released this november two A380 superjumbos with a shocking message against the illegal traffic of animals. They believe the transportation industry is able to break the illegal chain of supply of endangered fauna.
Certainly, these attempts are leading a more positive way for the fashion and luxury industry, but it’s difficult to distinguish if they mean something more than just a publicity campaign to better their brand image.