Tim Gunn: Embrace Fabrics That Don’t Bleed—Ban Fur in California and NYC

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2 min read

New York Fashion Week is in full swing, with shows in London, Milan, and Paris just around the corner. And while I’m excited to watch the world’s top designers strut their latest creations down the runway, there’s one look I never want to see on the catwalk: fur.

Throughout my career—as chair of fashion design at Parsons School of Design, creative director at Liz Claiborne, and host of Project RunwayI have strongly advocated against fur. Fashion is a celebration of progressive thinking and beauty, so to support something as ugly and archaic as fur isn’t in keeping with the spirit of the times. The industry certainly has a troubling history of making animals its “fashion victims,” but designers are now starting to see the light and switching to animal-friendly, fur-free materials.

I’m thrilled to know that both California—where I work on my new show, Making the Cut—and my hometown of New York City, America’s fashion capital, are considering bills that would ban fur sales. California’s AB 44 passed a committee vote at the end of August and will make it to a senate floor vote, while New York’s Intro 1476 is due for a second hearing this fall. Lawmakers have already banned the sale of new fur items in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but we can safeguard even more animals from gratuitous violence by supporting a ban in New York City and all of California.

Designers are finding it increasingly easy to meet consumer demand and be creative without being cruel. When my Project Runway cohort Michael Kors banished fur from his collections, he said, “[W]e now have the ability to create a luxe aesthetic using non-animal fur.” Donatella Versace declared, “Fur? I’m out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.” Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri announced, “Technology is now available that means you don’t need to use fur. The alternatives are luxurious. There is just no need.” Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Armani, and Chanel have all enacted fur-free policies, as have dozens of mass-market brands like H&M, Zara, Gap Inc., Nine West, and The North Face.

Let’s all embrace fabrics that don’t bleed and support a ban on fur sales in California and New York City. Whether or not you live in one of these areas, you can take action today to help save animals’ lives.

Tim Gunn is America’s most prominent fashion consultant. He was chair of fashion design at Parsons School of Design and hosted Project Runway for 16 seasons. His new style series with Heidi Klum, Making the Cut, will premiere on Amazon Prime in 2020.

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