It's a good day for animal rights and welfare advocates as another big fashion brand pledges to support their cause. Not long after Gucci, Burberry and Versace announced that they won't be using animal fur in their future collections, Prada is set to go fur-free. Today, Miuccia Prada went public with the decision saying that "the Prada Group (including Miu Miu, Church's) is committed to innovation and social responsibility" and that moving forward they will be "focusing on innovative materials [that] will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design".
The shift in operations came after a discussion with the Fur Free Alliance. For their upcoming Spring/Summer 2020 collections, the Prada Group will no longer include any designs featuring fur. As a gigantic name in the fashion industry, the brand's move cements the new era where luxury is redefined to be ethical and sustainable.
However, even as Prada goes fur-free, questions are still being raised about the environmental impact of faux fur, which is usually made with synthetic material. It's been known that the microplastic particles in clothing can make their way to the ocean and pollute nature every time plastic-based garments (like nylon and polyester knits) are being washed.
After Prada's denouncement of fur, International Fur Federation Chief Executive Mark Oaten issued a statement saying that he's "surprised that a brand who care about sustainability are banning a natural product like fur" and that "Prada customers will only have plastic fur as an option, which is bad for the planet." In recent years, the debate on what type of fur is worse for the environment has been heating up. And with competing studies being presented, it looks like it won't be settled anytime soon. But maybe, we should entertain the idea of foregoing fur — in whatever form — altogether.
According to a report by Quartz, it's looking like the Alpaca fibre can be a good alternative. It's just as warm and durable, and it comes in a selection of colours. The best thing about it is that it's eco-friendly and cruelty-free. Alpacas are larger than goats and can produce more fibre. They can also maintain a steady population growth and because they live in a much less hostile environment, shaving off their furs won't result in mass death unlike the goat herds in the harsh Mongolian terrain.
Sure, going absolutely fur-free will deprive us of that traditional bold and luxurious aesthetic but a new era is here and we have to adapt. After all, if Prada goes fur-free for animal welfare then shouldn't we be also concerned with fishes, turtles and planktons that can potentially be harmed by synthetic faux fur?
We'll just have to wait and see how the Prada Group handles these new concerns and challenges. But with the progress that the fashion industry has made so far, we're hopeful for a positive outcome.