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In recent news, high fashion retailer Gucci announced they have plans to discontinue the use of real fur. This grand gesture is not unique, as countless other high fashion labels have already gone ‘vegan’ but it does show a willingness to evolve with consumer preference.

As each brand makes such commitments to change the way they produce and what they sell, the industry will finally follow the direction it needs to. However, is this change happening fast enough?

An author for the Independent has recently argued that in actuality, the whole purpose of high fashion contradicts the ethical fashion movement (see here – http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/gucci-fur-ban-sustainable-ethical-high-fashion-designers-brands-no-point-a7998856.html):

“A ban by Gucci will make no difference whatsoever to the number of animals farmed for their coats. As for “saving the environment”, the airmiles and travelling involved in photographing ad campaigns for luxury brands, the copious packaging which cocoons their products, the glass and steel and non-environmentally friendly materials used to construct their retail outlets… well I could go on and on, but you get the point…

…When they stop selling over-packaged cosmetics in thick cardboard boxes and paying women in the developing world to produce their diffusion ranges for a pittance – then they can talk about ethics and the environment. High fashion is about producing and selling stuff we don’t really need – so the ideal of less consumption (and less waste) is not going to be a winning philosophy, is it?”

And so, we grapple with a few questions: Is the pace of change enough? What more should retailers and labels be doing? Is it even a realistic goal for such brands to embrace ethical as a way of doing business?

Let us know your thoughts.

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