The “Turn away from fur” campaign in a new version
“Turn away from fur” campaign is an initiative led by PETA. Its aim is to promote awareness of the ethical and ecological aspects of fur farming encouraging people to stop wearing clothing made of natural animal fur. It was first presented to the world by models from Boss Models Worldwide on a “living billboard” on October 30, 1996. Recently, PETA has also been aiming to make other animal-based materials, such as wool, leather and down, as unacceptable as fur. The organization uses an old campaign to draw attention again to the conditions in which animals are bred and slaughtered.
Humanitarianism and fashion
“People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” – is the full name of an international non-governmental organization whose main goal is to protect animal rights. She is known for her provocative and controversial activities that aim to attract public attention and draw attention to existing problems related to animal abuse. In 1980, the year it was founded, furs were still a status symbol. “Everyone wanted to have fur” – recalls Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of the organization. “But now it’s in the past.”
Calvin Klein was one of the first major fashion brands to go fur-free. All this after PETA stormed his New York office in 1994. That same year, she published content advertising the “Turn Away from Fur” campaign, where supermodels claimed they would rather go naked than wear fur. Social media and the broader cultural conversation around ethical consumption have pushed this even further. In 2017, Gucci announced that fur was passé. And in 2021, its parent company Kering has gone fur-free entirely, joining the ranks of luxury brands from Chanel to Versace.
Although brands still use fur, its sale is slowly being treated as inappropriate. In some countries such as California and Israel it’s even illegal. However, when it was an insignificant part of most companies’ activities, Leather products are the industry’s sales driver. So it seems that this time PETA has an even bigger nut to crack.
“Turn away from fur. And from wool, leather, down…”
We have been observing in recent years growing awareness and interest in animal protection in the clothing industry. Many companies and designers are taking steps to reduce or completely eliminate leather goods, wool and down from their collections. And yet, for the vast majority of brands, giving up leather or wool is not a good idea. Several high-end companies that have pledged to go fur-free have ignored activists’ calls to do the same even for exotic skins such as crocodile, snake and ostrich, let alone cowhide.
Also for many consumers, the use of wool and leather seems less controversial than fur or exotic leathers. Many people think that leather from cows and sheep is not a product for which animals are raised solely for their skin, unlike animals such as minks or crocodiles. However, PETA claims that the industry is equally cruel and threatens the welfare of the animals that are part of it.
Despite the development of alternative synthetic materials, it is consumers who actually have a significant influence on the decisions made by clothing brands. By consciously choosing purchases, expressing opinions and supporting a brand that takes pro-animal activities, they can influence the transformation of the fashion industry. “We’re working hard to wake people up,” Newkirk said. “Fur is obvious now, leather is becoming more and more obvious…wool is the hardest.” The “Turn away from fur” campaign reminds us that since fur has become a thing of the past, other materials also have a chance.