Italy's luxury fashion house will stop using animal fur in its products starting with its Spring-Summer 2020 collection for women.

A model wears an outfit from the Prada fashion collection for autumn/winter 2006/2007, unveiled in Milan, Italy, Feb. 21, 2006.
A model wears an outfit from the Prada fashion collection for autumn/winter 2006/2007, unveiled in Milan, Italy, Feb. 21, 2006. (Antonio Calanni / AP)

Luxury fashion house Prada said Wednesday it will remove animal fur from its collections, joining a lengthening list of designers to make that choice.

Prada's decision, to take effect with its women's Spring-Summer 2020 collection, was welcomed by several animal protection associations, a statement said.

The Italian fashion house said its decision stemmed from "a positive dialogue" with the Fur Free Alliance (FFA) of more than 50 associations in about 40 countries, notably the Italian group LAV and The Humane Society of the United States.

Other major names to have renounced the use of animal fur include Armani, Burberry, DKNY, Donna Karan, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Gucci, Michael Kors and Versace.

Prada "is committed to innovation and social responsibility, and our fur-free policy ... is an extension of that engagement," artistic director Miuccia Prada was quoted as saying in the statement.

"Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products," she added.

The Prada statement included reactions from several animal protection groups, with FFA program manager Brigit Oele saying: "This global movement is gaining momentum fast, and it’s very unlikely that fur will ever return as an acceptable trend. This is a great day for animals!"

The fur industry has scorned the trend towards fur-free fashion, and Mark Oaten of The International Fur Federation said in a statement: "I am surprised that a brand who care about sustainability are banning a natural product like fur.

"Now Prada customers will only have plastic fur as an option, which is bad for the planet. I urge Prada to think again and trust its own consumers to decide if they want to buy real or fake fur."

Fur represents a fraction of most fashion groups' sales in fact, and while figures for Prada were not available, at rival Gucci which stopped using fur in 2018, it accounted for just 0.16 percent of the total.

Win over eco-friendly Millennials

Prada and the others might attract younger customers with the decision meanwhile, as they are more likely to take ethical considerations into account according to sector specialists.

Fashion analyst Nina Marston at Euromonitor International noted that "industry players face increasing pressure to take a stance on ethical issues such as animal cruelty."

Her group found that 28 percent of Millenial consumers worldwide said that "buying eco-friendly or ethically conscious products make them feel good."

Prada will thus "further its appeal to the growing number of Millennial and Gen Z consumers, who are vital to the future of the luxury industry," Marston concluded.

Source: AFP