Fur is a big part of Italian fashion culture. It is a sign of wealth, a marker of style and, despite the oft-warm climate, Romans, Florentines and Milanese rarely miss a chance to shrug a fox fur or mink over their shoulders.
Yet seemingly, times they are a-changing. Prada, the brand famous for it’s cerebral approach – designer Miuccia Prada likes to make her customers think – has just announced it will be ditching fur from its spring summer 2020 collections.
With this move Prada now joins the ever growing ranks of houses that have turned away from the material considered by many to be the ultimate in luxury. The softness and decadence of the plush pile has been coveted for far more than its warming properties, or its ability to stave off the rain. Fur always commands the highest prices, and even a small trim around a collar or cuff justifies hiking the price tag by hundreds of euros. So why on earth has Prada decided to halt such a good revenue source?
As the spending power of millennials and Gen Z continues its relentless expansion, in the European market at least, an increasing number of brands are finding that the younger generation of customers are simply no longer interested in fur.
Connected almost permanently to their smart phones, all now have ample access to raw and often deeply distressing footage of how fur is made. The oft repeated mantra of the fur industry about highest welfare standards and environmentally responsibility seems to fall flat when faced with images of a fox, skinned and bloody, but still blinking and very much alive.
Some images are simply a case of once-seen, never-forgotten and footage from inside fur farms certainly fits that category. As the younger generations are declaring they prefer to see fur left on its original owners, it seems more and more fashion houses have no choice but to bow to public demand.