Versace bans kangaroo skin following pressure from activists

Animal rights group LAV urged other clothing brands to follow suit

An injured kangaroo stands in a paddock near Nowra, New South Wales, Australia, on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. The Australian fires have burned across an area twice the size of Switzerland while claiming at least 28 lives and destroying thousands of homes. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the nation must become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, and proposed a review of the government’s response to the wildfire crisis. Photographer: David Gray/Bloomberg
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Italian fashion house Versace has banned kangaroo skin for its luxury leather products under pressure from animal rights activists.

The move comes after LAV, an animal rights group, urged Italian companies to stop using kangaroo leather, highlighting that 2.3 million of the marsupials were killed in Australia commercially a year. Kangaroos have also been in the spotlight recently as bushfires rage around Australia, killing an estimated one billion animals.

Versace didn’t comment but gave LAV permission to make the announcement, which welcomed the move and called on other fashion houses to follow suit.

Simone Pavesi, an LAV campaigner, said: “We have been corresponding with Versace over email and they confirmed that in 2019 they stopped using kangaroo skin.

“We welcome this as a sign of responsibility, today more than ever. The fires that are devastating Australia add to the massacres of hunting, with dramatic consequences for the kangaroo population.”

In Europe, Italy is the leading importer of kangaroo skins, with more than two million from 2012 to 2015. The skins are primarily used in the sportswear industry to manufacture soccer shoes and motorcycling suits, but they are also used by brands to produce footwear and accessories.

Versace is not the first fashion brand to ban kangaroo products. Diadora pledged kangaroo-free production in November after coming under pressure from LAV.

LAV said that other companies involved in this trade include sportswear brands Lotto, Danese and Ducati. Clothing company Salvatore Ferragamo and footwear companies Moreschi, Moma and Fabi were also involved, it said.

In 2018, Versace banned the use of real fur from its products, joining Gucci, Armani, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren.