Some of the global fashion industry's biggest players have already made the move to end the use of fur in their collections, yet Gucci's decision to add their name to the list may shock those familiar with previous designs. The news has been well received by animal rights campaigners and socially aware shoppers, with the company being congratulated on embracing a new, more compassionate, direction.

Gucci leave fur in 2017

In a recent speech at the Kering talk, held at a London College of Fashion event, Gucci's chief exec took the stage to announce the company's decision.

Marco Bizzarri, who has held the position of CEO since 2015, promised that there would be no fur featured in the Spring/Summer collection of 2018, nor will it be used in any future releases. Vowing to promote a new commitment to "sustainability," he stated that all current fur stock will be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to a variety of Animal Rights charities.

Those that can recall Gucci's previous collections will no doubt be rather shocked; slippers made from kangaroo and astrakhan jackets have all featured, and in F/W of last year, there was a pink fur coat retailing for $19,000, and one embroidered with a snake for $41,000.

Whilst it may have been Bizzarri who broke the news, the decision was pushed forward by Gucci's new creative director, Alessandro Michele, an eccentric individual responsible for all released collections, and the overall image of the brand.

Bizzarri has said that he appointed Mr. Michele in full knowledge that they "shared the same vision" for the company's future, something that is demonstrated in their "culture of purpose" plan, a ten-year sustainability project focusing on environmental factors as well as a handful of other important issues. Bizzarri has ensured that the world knows Gucci now holds social responsibility at its core, but there has been a somewhat mixed reaction to the move.

A modern direction, or a senseless decision?

Animal rights campaigners have, quite understandably, responded in an overwhelmingly positive fashion, calling the abandonment of fur a "huge game changer." Many charities and activist groups have given outspoken support, such as Humane Society International, who have heralded Gucci's "compassionate" decision as the catalyst for change that the industry so desperately needs.

Mark Oaten, CEO of the international fur foundation, has claimed it simply "makes no sense" to say that environmental factors are the driving force of this newfound attitude. Mr. Oaten believes that fur is one of, if not the, most sustainable material for clothing, as it lasts for a lifetime and comes from purely natural sources. The fur industry will, no doubt, continue to rake in the big money, even in the wake of growing pressure; in 2015 alone, there were 71.27 million mink and 8.93 million fox pelts sold in the global market, with a combined value of over $4.6 billion.

Whatever the case, Gucci will no longer be contributing to these profits, as it rejects the use of mink, coyote, fox, or any other species that are specially bred or caught for its fur.

Despite this, it is quite important to point out that many other brands have already made such commitments, including Armani, Hugo Boss, Stella McCartney, Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren. However, it doesn't particularly matter, in the minds of most, that they were late to the party; many are glad they've turned up at all.