Why Crocodile, Lizard, Snake, Stingray and Fur Are Out of Fashion at Chanel

December 5, 2018, 10:34 AM UTC

Famed fashion house Chanel is no longer using “exotic skins” in it’s “future creations”. The list includes crocodile, lizard, snake, and stingray as well as fur.

“The future of high-end products will come from the know-how of what our atelier is able to do,” Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel SAS, told WWD. Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld said he couldn’t remember the last time he used fur at Chanel.

Pavlovsky said the decision was made because it was becoming increasingly difficult for Chanel to source skins that met the house’s quality and ethical standards. From now on it will focus its research and development on textiles and leathers generated by agri-food industries.

Burberry, Gucci, Armani, and Versace have also previously pledged to go fur-free, but Chanel is the largest luxury fashion house to ban exotic skins as well, according to animal rights organization PETA.

Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement: “The champagne corks are popping at PETA, thanks to Chanel’s announcement that it’s kicking fur and exotic skins — including crocodile, lizard, and snakeskin — to the curb. For decades, PETA has called on the brand to opt for luxury, cruelty-free fashion that no animal had to suffer and die for, and now it’s time for other companies, like Louis Vuitton, to follow the lead of the iconic double Cs and do the same.”

Diane von Furstenberg stopped using exotic skins this fall as well, but it’s been a difficult habit to quit. Handbags and accessories made from exotic skins are big sources of income for luxury fashion brands, with limited edition Hermes bags selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rather than cutting out exotic skins, many fashion houses focused on ethical sourcing, and some even run their own farms, BOF reports.

Fashion houses’ changes of heart might be partly attributed to activists’ persistence, but consumers’ tastes have also changed. Young fashionistas care more about supply chain ethics than previous generations and are more likely to shell out for an exclusive pair of sneakers than a handbag their grandmother might have carried. The Wall Street Journal reported French imports of reptile skins sank more than 30% between 2015 and 2018.