An Unexpected Anti-Fur Protest at London Fashion Week

Will you see fur clothing on the shelves again? Natalia Baranovskaya recalls the protest at LFW.

2nd October 2017
Instagram: @joannemitchell94

Will you see fur clothing on the shelves again?

This month, just a week before the Fresher's week at our Uni, there was one of the most anticipated events in the fashion industry - London Fashion Week (LFW). LFW took place from the 14th to 19th September 2017. The whole week was organised and the timetable of the events was put on the LFW website. However, nobody could have predicted that just before the Burberry's show, which was supposed to be at 7 pm in Old Sessions House in London's Clerkenwell, the paparazzi, photographers and guests of this event would be met by 250 anti-fur activists.

Animal welfare protestors were covered in fake blood and were shouting on the attendees of the festival, showing billboards with poor, tortured animals. Such protests are not new to this kind of shows, but this is the first time when the activists took up residence outside the British Fashion Council’s (BFC) hub at 180 The Strand.

The protestors, declaring that the petition against BFC  had 200,000 signatures and their campaign video had exceeded 1 million views. The action was also supported online by Lucy Watson through Instagram with photos of her holding posters saying 'Tell the British Fashion Council to ban fur from the catwalk' and hashtags #banfur.

Anti-fur activists argue that over 1 billion rabbits and more than 50 million other animals are killed every year for fashionable brands.

But this protest was somewhat unpredicted during this LFW as the Spring/Summer collections 2018 were designed to be without fur and were introduced by over 150 international and British brands, including some of the famous ones like ERDEM, Ralph &Russo, Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, Stella McCartney, Gareth Pugh.

Many other famous designers such as Armani, Calvin Klein  Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M Group, the Inditex group (which owns Zara), American Apparel, Topshop, Mango, Topshop, River Island, Marks & Spencer and Zalando are all part of the Fur Free Alliance's Fur Free Retailer Program and Net-a-Porter, Selfridges and Liberty do not use fur even for their winter collections, supporting the idea of protecting animals. Moreover, even the only two furry pink coats seen on the runway were made from 100 percent polyester.

However, despite the support of these world famous brands the fashion industry is still divided on whether to participate in the worldwide fur trade or not, as it is a market worth more than $40 billion a year that employs over 1 million people.

The International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF) argues that fur sales have more than doubled, from $15.6 billion in 2011 to $35.8 billion in 2013.

Despite this fact, the fashion industry fights with the use of fur. For instance, Oslo Fashion Week has banned fur collections. Fashion celebrities in the UK such as Twiggy, Leona Lewis, Ricky Gervais have spoken out for fur-free clothes. Also, designers such as Vika Gazinskaya and Shrimps are working with cutting-edge technologies to produce vegan fabrics that imitate fur without using any real animal furs.

Therefore, is the decision to protest so ferociously before Burberry’s fashion show really necessary? It seems like there are a lot of pressing issues within the fashion industry but the use of fur seems to be getting tackled from many angles.

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