Not all habits, no matter how ancient, are commendable. In the name of tradition and luxury, famous fashion houses have made animal skins the symbol of their premium creations. Yet this archaic form of styling is now being challenged. More responsible, the consumer is demanding rapid changes in fashion: the time has come for awareness and innovative alternatives!
More aware of environmental issues, everyone is measuring the impact of their choices on sustainable development on a daily basis. Largely under pressure, the luxury industry had no other option than to sacrifice a little of its essence, redefine its identity…and try to restore its image. In recent years, leading luxury groups (LVMH, Kering) have been investing heavily in research and development programs to rethink a more ethical approach. Even in the luxury sector, the recycling of organic materials and waste are organized to produce clothing and accessories that are more eco-friendly for people, animals and the environment.
The list of designers banning natural furs and skins is growing (Burberry, Armani, Versace, Balmain…), however, the pioneer activist in the luxury industry is without a doubt Stella McCartney. Winner of a vegan fashion prize awarded by PETA in the UK, she has taken up the challenge of offering premium pieces, free of animal leather or PVC. Eager to change mentalities by offering alternative materials, she was rewarded for her collaboration with ECOPEL, inventor and producer of KOBA, a fake fur of organic source. Composed of 37% corn starch (supplemented by recycled polyester fibres), the actors in the sector are confident that they will soon be able to produce a 100% vegetal fur!
But what about leather? With properties similar to those of animal leather (resistance, impermeability, durability), vegan leather also imposes its green label. Lyocell, made from eucalyptus pulp, muskin from mushroom cultivation or piñatex from pineapple leaves are revolutionizing the industry to offer new generation leathers. Without sacrificing style, these new regenerated and perfectly traceable materials contribute to another form of creativity in the very conventional world of luxury.
Combining sincere militancy and probable opportunism, the collections are more vegetal than ever, and animals have earned the chance to act as mascots on the catwalks! During the last, Stella McCartney (her again!), a bit mischievous, closed her show with models dressed as cow, crocodile or rabbit. The cheerful creatures handed out trees to be replanted to the assembly: an unequivocal message addressed to the audience, but also to the whole profession.