The future of fashion? The rise of animal-friendly trends in Australia

The rise in ethical fashion has progressed leaps and bounds over recent years, with fashion-conscious consumers leading the charge towards a future where we can have our smart-cut blazers and feel good about it too.

As part of this ethical fashion trend, major fashion retailers and brands are increasingly recognising their responsibility for the welfare of animals, choosing animal-free materials or making demands about animal welfare for their supply chains.

Last year, major global online retailer ASOS, which has 12.4 million active customers worldwide, announced that it is banning the sale of silk, cashmere and mohair products, having already banned fur and materials from threatened or endangered species. 

A decision which is on trend.

To date, 1000 huge fashion labels including H&M, Michael Kors, Gucci, and Armani have also committed to fur free policies through the Fur Free Retailer global program, not only prioritising animal welfare and consumer demands, but also supporting an end to fur’s image as a ‘luxury’ item. 

But this isn’t the 80’s, I hear you ask, isn’t fur ‘over’ anyway? Shockingly no.

To this day, millions of foxes, minks, rabbits and raccoon dogs are brutally farmed and slaughtered for their fur.

In fact, the global fur trade sources some 85 percent of its fur from animals who are forced to live in small wire cages on fur farms. Animals trapped in these cages are denied any natural environment or the ability to express their instinctive behaviour.

At the end of their short lives, their death – by electrocution, gassing or by having their neck broken – is as cruel as their keeping.

What’s more, some animals used for fur such as foxes, have been selectively bred to produce extreme levels of excess skin and therefore, more fur. As a result, these poor foxes suffer from heavily folded skin, severe eye infections and badly malformed feet.

In April this year, horrific images from a fox farm in Finland showed animals locked in tight cages who could barely move due to all their excess skin. In the wild, polar foxes would normally reach a weight of roughly four kilos but due to deliberate breeding for the largest possible amount of fur, these animals instead reach a weight of up to 20 kilos.

A fox suffering from excess skin on a fur farm

While it may seem like a US or European issue where the winters are far colder, here in Australia you can still find fur being used in fashion. Lots of fur trims are available in our shopping districts on jackets, fur vests, fur accessories for handbags and even on some toys. Which is why in 2018, it is so important for Australians to show their support for fur-free fashion and products.

This can be as simple as not buying fur products or fashion items such as jackets or gloves with fur trim, or better yet, supporting Australian fashion retailers and brands who have committed to being fur free.

This opinion piece was originally published on Bare Essentials

Header Image: FOUR PAWS | Tierart | Bogdan Baraghin

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