By the end of 2021, two major fashion houses will stop using certain animal materials: Valentino has said it will halt the use of alpaca wool and Prada will stop using kangaroo leather.
Alpaca wool is famed for its soft and lustrous fibres. Valentino uses wool harvested from live animals from the world's largest privately owned alpaca farm, Mallkini in Peru.
However, a recent report by Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) revealed rough treatment of the animals at the hands of the shearers. Camera footage shows the animals held in place with harnesses and screaming as handfuls of hair are pulled from the skin, causing it to bleed.
Following social media backlash to the video, Valentino has stated it will be severing ties with Mallkini.
Peta has hailed Valentino’s move as “savvy and compassionate”, and the Italian company joins the likes of high street chain Marks and Spencer, H&M Group (which also owns Cos, Monki, Weekday and & Other Stories), Gap and Uniqlo – which is the third largest clothing brand in the world – in banning the wool, and cutting ties with Mallkini’s parent company Michell Group.
Meanwhile, the Prada Group, owners of Prada, Miu Miu, Church's Shoes and Car Shoe, has also announced that as of 2021, it will not use kangaroo leather. Joining the ranks of Versace (who announced it will stop using the leather back in January), Chanel, Victoria Beckham and Paul Smith, Prada confirmed to Italian animal rights group LAV that it will no longer purchase new kangaroo leather, and will run down its existing stocks.
The trade is worth A$174 million (Dh458.8m) a year, and Australia shoots an estimated 2.3 million kangaroos annually for skin and meat.
While the meat goes towards human and pet food, its leather is prized for its tough but lightweight characteristics, and is used extensively in shoe making. It is also used to make footballs and motorcycle gear.
Large areas of Australia were devastated by bush fires at the beginning of 2020, killing an estimated three billion animals.