04 Aug

These Luxury Brands Are Still Harming Animals For Profit

Luxury brands are notorious for their use of cruel animal-based fabrics like fur and exotic skins. And while the anti-fur and vegan fashion movements have helped reduce some of the harm, there are still a bunch of high end brands that vegans should avoid. 

Many luxury brands score poorly for animals

For decades, the fur coat was a pinnacle of luxury fashion. But in the past few years, luxury’s image is changing, partly due to the anti-fur and vegan fashion movements that have garnered mainstream support.

These days, one might associate luxury with “innovation and social responsibility”, PJ Smith, fashion director at the Humane Society US, told Business of Fashion in 2018. The anti-fur movement has ebbed and flowed since the late 20th century. But thanks to social media and outspoken animal rights activism—mostly spearheaded by younger generations—major fashion houses like Prada, Ralph Lauren, and Burberry have all banned fur. Global luxury group Kering, which manages the likes of Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen, has also pushed through fur bans. And Kering is making moves to lessen the use of other animal-based materials, instead opting for recycled or innovative vegan alternatives.

Fur isn’t the only problem, though. Many brands still use cruel and often unsustainable materials like exotic animal skins and hairs (think crocodiles, minks, foxes, kangaroos, angora rabbits). Even more prevalent is the use of bovine leather, down feather, and sheep or alpaca wool—which, while hotly debated in the industry—are undeniably no-go’s for vegan fashion lovers.

In December 2021, global animal welfare organisation Four Paws released a report in partnership with Good On You assessing 111 brands across different markets on their commitment to animal welfare and sourcing transparency. As noted by journalist Lucianne Tonti for The Guardian, “While LVMH-owned Stella McCartney achieved the report’s highest score of 90%, the luxury sector fared the worst overall, receiving an average score of just 23% (lower than fast fashion at 53%).”

How animals are considered in our rating system

One of the three core pillars of the Good On You rating system is animal welfare. Whether you’re looking for cruelty-free and vegan fashion or simply concerned about animal welfare within fashion’s supply chains, checking the “Animals” section on brand listings in the directory or app can help to shed light on what matters to you.

What exactly constitutes a cruelty-free brand? And what do we investigate when scoring brands on animal welfare?

On our “How We Rate Fashion Brands” page, we give a high-level overview on what issues we consider when rating brands. Our rigorous ratings methodology evaluates 500-plus data points across more than 100 key issues, indicators, and standards systems to arrive at each brand’s score. For the “Animals” pillar, we determine whether brands use animal products in their ranges then, when applicable, investigate animal welfare policies and tracing across the supply chain.

We also identify and mark down brands that use fur, angora, and “exotic” animal skin or hair, consider wool use including “mulesing” and whether and how the brand uses leather, down, and other animal materials. We track commitments by brands to reduce the quantity of animal products, and ensure any welfare policies are being clearly implemented.

Brands rated by Good On You cannot achieve our highest score of “Great” for animals unless they are a 100% vegan brand, meaning they don’t use any animal products or by-products in their range.

The luxury brands vegans and animal lovers are better off avoiding

Wondering which luxury brands are still using harmful animal-based fabrics in their garments? Do they have animal welfare policies or trace animal products in the supply chain? And have they made any notable blunders or progress?

All of the following brands receive one of our two lowest scores for animals—“Not Good Enough” or “Very Poor”. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, it gives an overview of some of the most popular luxury brands on the market. Let’s take a closer look.

Dior

Rated: Not Good Enough

What the rating has to say

Dior’s animal rating is “Very Poor”. It has a basic formal policy to protect animal welfare. It uses fur, leather, wool, down, exotic animal hair, and exotic animal skin. It does not use angora. It traces some animal products to the first stage of production.

Good to know

Despite a petition demanding the brand go fur-free, Dior hasn’t made any obvious moves to remove the cruel fabric from its line.

See the rating.

Louis Vuitton

Rated: Not Good Enough

What the rating has to say

Louis Vuitton’s animal rating is “Very Poor”. It has a basic formal policy to protect animal welfare. It uses fur, leather, wool, down, exotic animal hair, and exotic animal skin. It does not use angora. It traces some animal products to the first stage of production.

Good to know

PETA shut down LVMH-owned Louis Vuitton’s claims that 100% of the animals used for the company’s products are “humanely farmed” in 2020, explaining that the exotic skins industry could never be considered humane.

See the rating.

Fendi

Rated: Not Good Enough

What the rating has to say

Fendi’s animal rating is “Very Poor”. It has a basic formal policy to protect animal welfare. It uses fur, leather, wool, down, exotic animal hair, and exotic animal skin. It does not use angora. It traces some animal products to the first stage of production.

Good to know

As the brand continues to feel the heat for its continual use of fur, Fendi is working with Imperial College London and Central Saint Martins University of the Arts to develop lab-grown keratin-based fur fibres for luxury fashion to serve as “a fur alternative that is animal-free and matches the quality of natural fur without environmental tradeoffs.” It is unclear if the brand intends to replace animal fur entirely or simply supplement with the lab-grown fibre.

See the rating.

Max Mara

Rated: We Avoid

What the rating has to say

Max Mara provides insufficient relevant information about how it reduces its impact on people, the planet, and animals. You have a right to know how the products you buy affect the issues you care about.

Good to know

Max Mara, among other luxury brands, uses fox fur originating from Finland which is certified by SAGA Furs. However, at two SAGA Furs certified fox fur farms visited by Humane Society International, “foxes with infected eyes and missing ears were filmed in woefully cramped cages, each one empty but for a single piece of wood or bone which passes for ‘enrichment’.”

See the rating.

Carolina Herrera

Rated: Not Good Enough

What the rating has to say

Carolina Herrera’s animal rating is “Not Good Enough”. There is no evidence it has a policy to minimise the suffering of animals. It uses leather, exotic animal hair, and wool. It does not use fur, angora, down, or exotic animal skin. There is no evidence it traces any animal products to the first stage of production.

Good to know

The brand banned exotic animal skins including python and crocodile in mid-2021, a win celebrated by PETA President Ingrid Newkirk who said the move signals that “no matter your taste in fashion, the skins of exotic animals have no place in fashion today.”

See the rating.

Roberto Cavalli

Rated: We Avoid

What the rating has to say

Roberto Cavalli’s animal rating is “Very Poor”. There is no evidence it has a policy to minimise the suffering of animals. It uses leather, fur, wool, down, exotic animal skin, exotic animal hair, and angora. There is no evidence it traces any animal product to the first stage of production.

Good to know

Despite having fashion shows protested by animal rights activists over the years, Roberto Cavalli shows no sign of slowing with its heavy use of not just animal prints, but animal skins across its collections.

See the rating.

Hermès

Rated: Not Good Enough

What the rating has to say

Hermès’ animal rating is “Very Poor”. It has a formal animal welfare policy aligned with Five Freedoms. It uses leather, wool, down, angora, fur, exotic animal skin, and exotic animal hair. It traces some animal products to the first stage of production.

Good to know

According to Medcalf in the Four Paws report, Hermès—billed as the lowest performer—received their rating because they “use the largest array of animal products in our entire sample of 111 brands” and for “their use of products made from wildlife who have been farmed”.

See the rating.

LOEWE

Rated: Not Good Enough

What the rating has to say

LOEWE’s animal rating is “Very Poor”. It has a basic formal policy to protect animal welfare. It uses leather, wool, exotic animal skin, and exotic animal hair. It does not use fur or angora. It traces some animal products to the first stage of production.

See the rating.

Oscar De La Renta

Rated: We Avoid

What the rating has to say

Oscar De La Renta’s animal rating is “Not Good Enough”. There is no evidence it has an animal welfare policy. It uses wool, exotic animal hair, leather, and exotic animal skin. It does not use down or angora. There is no evidence it traces any animal products to the first stage of production.

Good to know

While Oscar De La Renta has been known over the years as a fan of fur in fashion, the label will officially end all fur sales following pressure from pop singer-songwriter Billie Eilish at the Met Gala in 2021.

See the rating.

CELINE

Rated: Not Good Enough

What the rating has to say

CELINE’s animal rating is “Very Poor”. It has a basic formal policy to protect animal welfare. It uses leather, exotic animal skin, angora, wool, and exotic animal hair. It does not use fur. It traces some animal products to the first stage of production.

See the rating.

Loro Piana

Rated: Not Good Enough

What the rating has to say

Loro Piana’s animal rating is “Very Poor”. It has a basic formal policy to protect animal welfare. It uses fur, down, exotic animal skin, leather, wool, and exotic animal hair. It traces some animal products to the first stage of production.

Good to know

Loro Piana is famous for its luxuriously soft cashmere and Merino wool products, especially those made from baby cashmere goats. The brand breaks down each step of its material production process on its website, highlighting that cashmere isn’t shorn but rather “gently combed” from the goats. However, combing may not be as cruelty-free as it sounds.

See the rating.

Jimmy Choo

Rated: Not Good Enough

What the rating has to say

Jimmy Choo’s animal rating is “Very Poor”. There is no evidence it has a policy to minimise the suffering of animals. It uses leather, exotic animal hair, exotic animal skin, and wool. It does not use fur or angora. There is no evidence it traces any animal product to the first stage of production.

Good to know

Jimmy Choo banned fur back in 2018 and has since launched vegan shoe collections, but its continued use of untraced animal products in the rest of its range is concerning.

See the rating.

Maison Margiela

Rated: Not Good Enough

What the rating has to say

Maison Margiela’s animal rating is “Very Poor”. It has a general statement about minimising animal suffering but not a formal animal welfare policy. It uses leather, wool, angora, down, and exotic animal hair. It does not use fur or exotic animal skin. There is no evidence it traces any animal product to the first stage of production.

See the rating.

Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. Use our directory to search thousands of rated brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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