Fashion House Gucci has taken the decision to stop using animal fur in its designs. The decision takes effect next year and means that all products and lines that the Italian fashion giant creates will not contain fur.

The move has come at a time when the fashion industry has found itself under immense pressure to stop the controversial practice. Protests, many of them violent, have been staged around the world against brands that use animal fur.

The Gucci brand has a new creative director, Alessandro Michele, and has enjoyed a significant increase in profits since he started two years ago.

The move towards a non-fur future for the company has been linked to Michele's appointment. The chief executive of Gucci, Marco Bizzarri, spoke to Reuters about the big change and mentioned Michele in his comment. According to Reuters, Bizzarri said: “In selecting a new creative director I wanted to find someone who shared a belief in the importance of the same values,”.

Gucci is not the first, and will not be the last either

Gucci's decision has been welcomed by the industry, but it is actually behind the times a little with its new attitude towards the use of fur. Other fashion houses and brands, particularly in the online arena, have dismissed fur as an option for their work, and some did this a while ago.

Among the growing number of fashion brands taking a stand against fur is Armani, Stella McCartney and Hugo Boss. Armani is the closest in size and prestige to Gucci though.

Gucci is an iconic brand, and it is arguable that the statement it has made will influence the work of many other fashion houses in the years ahead. It has been met with a positive response from major charities and organisations opposed to the use of fur.

The Humane Society has expressed support for a 'fur-free alliance' among fashion designers and brands. According to BT, it said the Gucci move was a 'game changer', and called it: 'perhaps the biggest fur-free retailer announcement worldwide to date."

Inhumane treatment in the pursuit of fur

There has been widespread condemnation of the treatment of animals by some suppliers to the fashion industry.

The way animals have been treated in breeding farms has caused some considerable concern.

Speaking to Reuters, Simone Pavesi, from the Italian campaign group LAV, said: "As fashion becomes more and more ethical, supply chains that revolve around animals will be a thing of the past.”

The Gucci men's range will be the first to be completely fur-free. This is due to be released in Spring and Summer collection of 2018.