The Dutch fashion industry wants fur to disappear from its runways. More than a hundred designers, stylists, journalists, photographers, and celebrities across the Netherlands have signed an open letter calling for a ban on animal pelts at Amsterdam Fashion Week. The list of supporters reads like a Who’s Who of the nation’s tastemakers, including the mastheads of Elle, Esquire, and Marie Claire; TV personality Nicolette Kluijver; avant-garde designer Iris van Herpen; and James Veenhoff, the event’s founder.
Led by animal-welfare group Bont voor Dieren, Fur Free Fashion, and designer Michael Barnaart van Bergen, the group lauds Amsterdam Fashion Week’s growing support of sustainability in fashion, citing its participation in The Green Fashion Competition and the Amsterdam Eco Cluster as recent examples. “It would therefore also be a logical consequence for AFW to take a stand in relation to the use of fur in garments,” the letter reads.
In 2010, Norway made history when it banned animal pelts from Oslo Fashion Week.
Fur has become a rallying point for animal-rights advocates in the garment sector. Fendi nearly came to blows with the organizers of Seoul Fashion Week a year ago after Korean activists threatened to protest at the show. In 2010, Norway made history when it banned animal pelts from Oslo Fashion Week. By doing so, the letter notes, the country “adds value to ethical fashion,” demonstrating its “innovative long-term vision.”
Fur, the group points out, is not only inhumane but it also has a negative impact on the environment. “The pollution caused by the production of one kilo of mink fur [is] five times higher then what producing one kilo of cotton would cause,” the letter says, referring to a 2011 study by CE Delft on the impact of fur production. “Mink-breeding has a serious and unnecessary impact on aspects such as climate change, pollution, and soil acidification. This research immediately undermines the argument that fur is a sustainable product.”
Fighting fur on ethical grounds isn’t a novel issue in the Netherlands. The production of most kinds of fur is illegal in the country, while a ban on mink-farming—the remaining holdout—is slated to take effect in 2018. In 2003, the Dutch parliament voted against imports of dog, cat, and seal fur, as well as fur collected from leg-hold and other wildlife traps.