The real reason luxury fashion companies are no longer using real fur

This article isn’t a discussion on the pros and cons of real fur and offers no moral viewpoint on its use. I acknowledge that this contentious issue/material is divisive and has passion on both sides. 

The real ‘fur’ industry has seen massive growth, since the beginning of this century, driven by international consumers and trims on accessories and coats. It is now a $40 billion industry. It was inevitable that it would have a backlash and there would be a reaction to it, most notably from younger consumers. 

I put ‘fur’ into speech marks because it’s a very broad term and while some brands may no longer use mink they continue to use the skins of other animals and there’s no definitive reason for the choice of some animals making the used list and not the others. Read more here - ChicGeek Comment Fur Debate: You Either Use Animals Or You Don’t

Brands such as Gucci, Versace and Martin Margiela have decided to announce they will no longer use real fur. Donatella Versace recently said, “Fur? I am out of that,” she said. “I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.”

“Naturally we were disappointed to hear that Versace has said it won’t use real fur in collections. However, the majority of top designers will continue to work with fur as they know it is a natural product that is produced responsibly. When Donatella Versace says ‘I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion.’ presumably her company will soon stop using silk and leather?” says Andrea Martin from the British Fur Trade Association.

“It is disingenuous to claim that leather is a by-product of the meat industry, a cow still had to die to provide the product. Silk cocoons are placed in boiling water to help unravel the thread with the silk worm inside,” says Martin.

Italian accessories brand Furla has formally declared that it will be banning fur from its collections from November of this year, which would coincide with the launch of its Cruise ’19 collections. This follows decisions by Michael Kors and Yoox Net-A-Porter, which has declared that all its stores and websites would be real fur-free zones.

“I think some of the brands have gone fur free under pressure from anti-fur trends, and some are genuinely concerned. If brands don’t want to use animals for fashion then they need to consider leather, exotic skins, silk, sheepskin, makeup and products, all of which use animals. I also think human welfare is important to consider when producing fashion, and this often gets forgotten.” says Rebecca Bradley, a London based fur designer.

So, why are luxury brands really dropping the use of real fur? 

I think it is pure economics and the high margin greed of today’s luxury industry. It’s the same reason many restaurants are pushing vegetarian and vegan options: the margins are higher and therefore the profit. By charging slightly lower prices for something which is much cheaper to make, the margins increase. There are only so many €25,000 full-fur coats a brand will sell and the ceiling price is sensitive, so you can’t factor in the same margins you would on your other products. If you make it in faux-fur you'll get a higher margin and a bigger percentage of profit. You’ll also sell more and probably generate more money overall.

The irony is, the reason a real fur coat is so expensive is because of the high welfare standards of the European producers. Luxury brands wouldn’t be able to use cheaper real-fur from other sources witout criticism and scrutiny.

“Fur coats may seem expensive, however the price of a fur coat should reflect a high standard of animal welfare, and therefore with a beautiful, high quality fur, many skilled people are involved with production, including a furrier, and finisher to create a fur coat that will last for many generations, ” says Bradley.

Fur, for the majority of brands, is a very small part of their businesses and therefore it’s not difficult to heroically declare you’re no longer going to use it. It’s also easily replaced by a cheaper, synthetic alternative while not altering the price very much or at all. You can paint the use of a fake fur trim as an ethical choice rather than a cost saver to the consumer. It’s cynical I know, but it’s working.

PETA’s Director, Elisa Allen, says, “Fur is dead, dead, dead. As well as making sense for designers' conscience, ditching fur makes business sense, as today's consumers are demanding animal and eco-friendly clothing for which no animal has been electrocuted, strangled, or caught in a steel-jaw trap. From Armani to Versace, the list of fur-free designers is growing every day, and innovative vegan fashion is on the rise. The tide has turned irrevocably, and there's no going back.”

Many brands used the word ‘sustainable’ when announcing their decision to no longer use real-fur, but again, this is another term in fashion that is very broad and has little full meaning until you see the detail. I’m not sure a fake fur coat is particularly sustainable, but then again it does depend on the material.

But, you also have to acknowledge that nobody needs to wear a real fur coat. We could easily survive without real fur, but it’s interesting how, out of all the animal products we use, this is one of the most offensive to some and creates the biggest reactions and protests.

The real fur industry continues to grow in China and with other newly rich consumers and markets. It is now a US$17 billion-a-year industry in China and Haining, near Shanghai, is its hub.. Fur companies will be a bit like tobacco companies: the falling sales in established markets will be replaced by growing sales in new and even bigger markets in Asia.

Chinese animal welfare standards are very different from European standards. European producers have very strict regulations and it’s an industry which has to be transparent in order to ward off criticism.

“We respect the fashion industry’s attempts to become more responsible for the products they produce. Animal welfare is of critical importance and the fur produced is farmed to the highest welfare standards.” says Martin.

“With growing concern about the environment and plastics we believe it is more responsible to move back to the use of natural, biodegradable materials. Fur is the natural and responsible choice for designers and consumers.” says Martin.

Ditching fur is quite a lazy way for luxury brands to try to be more ‘sustainable’ and look like they care about the environment. 

“I think that companies and consumers becoming educated and aware of origins of products and materials is a fantastic thing, but the focus needs to be across the board, ensuring standards of human, or animal welfare and environmental impact.” says Bradley.

Many brands are seeing real fur as something they live without and it’s more hassle than it’s worth if the profit and quantities aren’t there. You can pick holes into both sides of the fur debate. While a positive move for many, the decision to no longer use real fur is really a cleverly spun business decision and driven by their continued obsession for huge margins.

Read more expert ChicGeek Comments - here

Published in Fashion

Milan gave us handbags, more shiny coats and reasons to look like a tourist. Here goes AW18:

AW18 menswear trends Milan Fendi handbags

AW18 menswear trends Milan Palm Angels handbags

AW18 menswear trends Milan Pradai handbags

Handbags

Ooooo, look at you! Bags have been getting smaller, so we may as well call a spade a spade.

From Left - Fendi, Palm Angels, Prada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AW18 menswear trends Milan Gucci Shiny coat

AW18 menswear trends Milan Fendi shiny coat

AW18 menswear trends Milan Prada shiny coatAW18 menswear trends Milan shiny coat versaceAW18 menswear trends Milan Moschino shiny coatAW18 menswear trends Milan Moschino shiny coat

Mr Sheen

The future is wipe clean and the quicker you get your head around this, the better.

From Left - Gucci, Fendi, Prada, Versace

Below - Both Moschino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diagonal Stripes

Like a walking 70s airline logo.

Below - Both Fendi

AW18 menswear trends Milan Fendi diagonal stripesAW18 menswear trends Milan Fendi shiny coat

 

AW18 menswear trends Milan Fendi distorted stripesAW18 menswear trends Milan Ermanno Scervino distorted stripesAW18 menswear trends Milan Marni distorted stripesAW18 menswear trends Milan Moschino distorted stripes

Distorted Stripes

This could be one of my favourite trends of the season. Not blurred lines, but distorted ones.

Above From Left - Fendi, Ermanno Scervino, Marni, Moschino

AW18 menswear trends Milan Gucci jacket open arms

Open Arms

The new caping.

Left - Gucci

Tourist

Nothing wrong with looking like a tourist in AW18. The worst the better. Just don't look up!

Below - Fendi, Prada, Prada

AW18 menswear trends Milan Fendi looking like a touristAW18 menswear trends Milan Prada looking like a touristAW18 menswear trends Milan Prada looking like a tourist

 

 

 

 

AW18 menswear trends Milan Fendi coatAW18 menswear trends Milan Gucci coatAW18 menswear trends Milan No.21 shiny coatAW18 menswear trends Milan Marni coatAW18 menswear trends Milan Marni blanket coat

Blanket Coat

Any blanket looking design cut into a coat or simply just thrown over your shoulders.

From Left - Fendi, Gucci, No.21, Marni

Below - Marni

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go Wilde

What did Oscar say about resisting temptation? Dress like you haven't.

Below From Left - Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Dolce & Gabbana

AW18 menswear trends Milan Oscar Wilde GucciAW18 menswear trends Milan Oscar Wilde Dolce GabbanaAW18 menswear trends Milan Oscar Wilde Dolce & Gabbana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AW18 menswear trends Milan Prada shiny coatAW18 menswear trends Milan Prada badges coat

Badges

This is part normcore, part 80s, part 90s, part...

Both Prada

Coloured Lenses

Fear & Loathing lenses. I wore these all last Summer and they ain't going anywhere. 

Below Both - Dolce & Gabbana

AW18 menswear trends Milan colouredlenses Dolce & GabbanaAW18 menswear trends Milan colouredlenses Dolce & Gabbana 

Published in Fashion

Andrew Cunanan Yellow Get The Look Gianni Versace Assaination

The first episode of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story premiered last night, and, while we already who know whodunnit, we don’t know why? Will we ever know? Andrew Cunanan killed himself shortly afterwards.

Left - The Andrew Cunanan character in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Andrew Cunanan Yellow Get The Look he Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

One of the highlight looks from the first episode was a Sara Lee yellow, full look of slouchy 80s-style trousers, polo shirt and matching cap. Yellow can frighten many guys and is therefore quite difficult to find in the shops. This is a softer, more pastel hue.

Right - All about Sara Lee yellow this Summer

Look at it like a dose of wardrobe vitamin D. Okay, so this did have the backdrop of Art Deco Miami, but just imagine the palm trees when you’re rolling down your local high-street with your jacket slung over your shoulder and your big serial killer shades on.

Andrew Cunanan Yellow Get The Look he Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story ASOS adidas

Left - adidas Originals - Trefoil Cap In Yellow - £15 from ASOS

Below - Don't want to be recognised? Go for serial killer sized shades

Andrew Cunanan Sunglasses Yellow Get The Look he Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime StoryBelow - Lacoste Live - Unisex Slim Fit Petit Piqué Polo - £85

Andrew Cunanan Sunglasses Yellow Get The Look Lacoste Polo Shirt The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Andrew Cunanan Yellow Get The Look he Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left - Versace - Sunglasses - £96

Andrew Cunanan Yellow Get The Look he Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Left - DSquared2 - Light Yellow Suit - £521 from YOOX

See Get The Look - Call Me By Your Name

Get The Look - Wild, Wild Country

Published in Fashion
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 16:20

Must Have Men’s Accessory Medallion Man

men's medallion necklaces silk shirts luke day ben cobb

The silk pyjama shirt has become a fixture in our wardrobes - it was one of the most popular men’s items in the recent Erdem X H&M collaboration -  Read 'The Return of The Sexy Shirt' - and it was inevitable, in all its louche, open-shirtedness, that we needed something extra to decorate our chests with. Enter the medallion. 

Left - Fashion week street style

This look hasn’t been cool since the seventies with the combined stench of Brut aftershave and porn-star taches. But we're peacocking again and this overt masculinity is the reason why it is back. It’s very Burt Reynolds, very Magnum PI and has a musky, hirsute sexiness to it.

men's medallion necklaces silk shirts Alex Orso men's jewelleryRight - Alex Orso - Disc - Gold - £125

I’m loving a silk shirt ATM, see one of my favourites of the season here and you wear it open with confidence. It could be the “Call Me By Your Name” effect, where the medallion necklace is an important signifier within the film  - see more Call Me By Your Name style here or it's the effect of guys being more flamboyant and wearing printed silk shirts.

men's medallion necklaces silk shirts black dakini matchesfashionTeam with silk trousers and a smile. Have you got the swagger for a medallion?

Left - Black Dakini - Disk Pendant Sterling Silver Necklace - £355 from Matchesfashion.com

men's medallion necklaces silk shirts vintage versace

men's medallion necklaces silk shirts steve mcqueen

men's medallion necklaces silk shirts ryan gosling

men's medallion necklaces silk shirts asos gold st christopher

men's medallion necklaces silk shirts steve mcqueen

men's medallion necklaces silk shirts hairy chest magnum PI Tom Selleck

Below - Vintage Bruce Weber Versace 

Below Right - Steve McQueen

men's medallion necklaces silk shirts call me by your name star of david

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Far Left -Ryan Gosling

Middle - The medallion draws attention to your chest

Left - More McQueen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left - Tom Selleck being Tom Selleck

Below Left - Call Me By Your Name - the older character shows his influence on the younger one when he starts to copy him and wear the same necklace

Below - Chained & Able - St. Christopher - £22 from ASOS

You're going to need a silk shirt to go with this - see more here The Return of 'The Sexy Shirt'

 

men's medallion necklaces silk shirts asos gold

 

Published in Fashion

In an age of increasing competition and saturation, anonymity is the death of any brand. People like to know the person or people behind the things they are buying. Ultimately, at all price levels, we are buying somebody’s taste, so, call it nosy, if you will, but we want to know who is making the decisions.

At the recent Marks & Spencer menswear fashion show previewing their AW17 collection, and by chance, I met their Head of Design, Menswear, James Doidge. Impressed by his relaxed and honest approach, I wanted to find out more, so I sent him a few ChicGeek questions:

Left - Marks & Spencer, Head of Design, Menswear, James Doidge

CG: Where are you from originally?

JD: I’m from Aldridge, a small town in the Midlands

CG: How old are you?

JD: 39

CG: You studied at Central St Martin’s, what did you study & when?

JD: I studied Menswear on the BA course, at Central St Martin's from 1997-2000. Before that I completed a Foundation Course at Chelsea College of Art & Design

CG: You’ve previously worked at Paul Smith, Versace, Asprey & Calvin Klein, what was your favourite brand and why?

JD: Each brand was exciting to work for as they have their own strong aesthetic. Versace and Calvin Klein may seem quite opposite – gold baroque to minimalist, pure simplicity, however, a designer can help to evolve the brand and create a product that is relevant to their customer.

CG: You spent over 11 years at Calvin Klein, what was that like? What do you think about what Raf Simons is doing there now?

JD: When I started at CK, Calvin was still working there and it was great to understand how he worked – to learn from him and understand his founding principles. He taught the world how to advertise in a modern, aspirational way – how to make clothing desirable and sexy - even a pair of jeans or white T-shirt.

I love what Raf is doing and am really excited to see the next few collections and understand his complete vision, and I’ve been a lifelong fan of his own label.

Right - My favourite image from Marks & Spencer's forthcoming AW17 season

CG: How have you seen menswear change over your career?

JD: Menswear has become a much bigger market over the past few years and continues to grow. Men want to have fun with clothes and enjoy what they are wearing, they want to express themselves, in subtle ways, through the clothes they wear – no matter where they are shopping.

CG: Was it an adjustment going to M&S from Calvin Klein?

JD: Both are huge and very distinct brands, with their own heritage and handwriting. A big focus for me has always been fabric and quality, which is extremely important for both brands.

CG: What are the strengths of M&S menswear?

JD: The quality of the clothing is key when designing for M&S, we have a rigorous testing and trialling process.

We travel the world for seasonal style inspiration and edit those findings down into concise stories that deliver a broad choice of colour and fit that works for everyone.

CG: What made you want to take the job?

JD: I’ve always wanted to work at M&S, as it’s such an iconic British brand, so when the opportunity arose I moved back to London to take on the role. It's like the BBC of the clothing world, an incredible British institution – everyone in the UK has grown up with M&S and has a point of view of what it means to them. M&S has a unique place both on the High Street and in our customers’ lives.

CG:  What were the first things you did there?

JD: Visited the incredible archives in Leeds, which has a huge selection of clothes, packaging, advertising and photographs from the 133 year history of M&S.

CG:  What is your favourite piece from the new AW17 collection?

JD: The Limited green nylon parka. It’s such an iconic style.

CG: How does M&S compete in the 21st century?

JD: Firstly and most importantly, we listen to our customers - 18,000 per week (to be precise!), which informs how we design, create and displayed our collections. We create quality essentials that fit into our customers’ lifestyles and act as staples to shape our customers’ wardrobes.

Left - Limited Edition Parka Jacket - £129

CG: Are there any other men’s brands/designers/retailers you look to or admire?

JD: I love Tokyo Hands, in Tokyo, it has the best stationary selection in the world and things that you could only find in Japan, and Virgil Normal in Los Angeles has a great mix of brands.

CG: Where do you find your inspiration?

JD: As part of our inspiration at M&S, we visit various global cities to understand the different markets and trends to see how, globally, people’s lives are changing and evolving – what they are wearing, eating, experiencing and watching all contribute to our research process. We usually visit Tokyo, Seoul, NY and LA. Also Stockholm, Munich, Cape Town, Sydney and Rio are also fascinating cities for inspiration.

CG:  Where do you see M&S menswear in 5 years’ time?

JD: Still as the UK’s number 1 retailer.

CG:  What book are you currently reading?

JD: Eduardo Paolozzi by Hal Foster. He’s one of my favourite British artists who produced amazing work from the 50s through to the 90s

Right - Marks & Spencer - Autograph - Navy Leather Trainers - £39.50

CG: The last film you watched?

JD: The Genius and The Opera Singer – an amazing documentary about a mother/daughter relationship that also features a chihuahua called Angelina Jolie!

CG: The last piece of menswear you bought?

JD: Autograph navy trainers - here

CG: Favourite city, and why?

JD: London, it has the perfect mix – people, culture, museums, music, art, restaurants, parks and great shops.

 

 

 

Published in Fashion

N/A Socks New York Nick LewisThe fashion business likes a ‘category’. The more categories the more product and the more money, hopefully. If only it was that easy.

Designers and brands like to enter a category, be it jeans, underwear or sunglasses, usually partnering with a manufacturing expert in that field, and expand their businesses one category at a time. Take Tom Ford for example, he is just about to go into underwear after mastering jeans, sunglasses, beauty and trainers, in no particular order.

Left - N/A Necessary Anywhere socks available at Oki-Ni & Harvey Nichols

Underwear is one of the biggest money spinners for brands. People will pay a premium for somebody else’s name on their waistband - not really sure why - and entire brands like Calvin Klein and Versace are built on their underwear categories. They can charge a premium for something that is cheap to make.

And while the underwear category has matured into a reliable cash cow for many, the sock business seems so much trickier. There aren’t many designers or brands who have owned the category. With the exception of Paul Smith, designers produce the odd sock for collections, but don’t fully enter or develop the category. It wasn't that long ago that Burberry pulled out of the category and they make everything.

It’s interesting how people are willing to spend on underwear, but not on socks. We do have quality sock brands such as the German Falke and the British Panterella and Corgi, but there seems to be a ceiling on the pricing. People think socks should be cheap and when brands like Vetements and Gucci do socks at high prices - think nearing three figures - they seem like one of the most frivolouss purchases you can make and are usually a one-off show piece rather than entering the category.

The branded sock market seems to fall into two categories: sports and colourful office-type socks. There’s definitely a gap for something in between. So, it was at the recent CIFF fashion trade show in Copenhagen that I found N/A from New York. 

When I searched ’N/A New York’ I got plenty of Narcotics Anonymous meetings, but it actually stands for ‘Necessary Anywhere’  and is influenced by the ‘everyday grind’. To the British that's walking (thought Americans didn't do that anyway!). They believe it’s vital to get up every day with the aspiration to move ourselves forward.

Founded in 2015 by Nick Lewis with six socks, these premium knit socks marry innovative textures with classic colours and patterns. When people pay for socks they usually go for something colourful and playful, N/A seems to have produced a cool sock which marries sports and fashion. They’re about £15, which, while more than your average three pack, aren’t extortionate. They fit somewhere between your smart socks and your sports socks and could, potentially, signal a new category within this difficult category. 

Published in Labels To Know
Sunday, 21 August 2016 22:16

Vlog The Chic Geek National Grooming Day

The Chic Geek's latest vlog celebrates National Grooming Day and includes grooming advice and the latest product from Clinique, Tom Ford, Versace, Diesel, Foreo and Gillette. Watch TheChicGeek video below and subscribe to his YouTube channel here 

Published in Fashion