Iconic British fashion label Paul Smith has announced that it will ban all exotic skins in future collections—including kangaroo skin, or “K leather.”
Kangaroo skin is a particularly light leather, making it a popular choice for luxury fashion items. Paul Smith recently updated its sustainability policies to include exotic skins and confirmed that this included K leather.
“Paul Smith is committed to ensuring high standards of animal welfare and requires this same commitment from all of our suppliers,” says the brand. “We do not use exotic skins, fur or Angora rabbit hair. We also do not use species listed in the CITES Appendices – a list of internationally protected animals.”
The brand is available in more than 70 countries and has 90 stores and 21 concessions globally. According to Australian government statistics, over 1.5 million kangaroos and wallabies were killed for commercial purposes 2018. Paul Smith’s move to ditch K leather followed pressure from animal rights campaign groups.
“We are committed to constantly reassessing the part we play in creating a more sustainable fashion industry,” says the website. “And are passionate about maintaining a sustainable approach across all aspects of our business.”
Fashion Companies Ditch Kangaroo
High fashion label Chanel has already ceased production with K leather, and luxury department store Selfridges banned exotic skins earlier this year. Fur-free fashion company Versace pledged to cease production with kangaroo skins last January.
Italian animal rights organization LAV welcomed the decision and emphasized the ongoing decimation of kangaroo populations by Australian bushfires.
“We welcome this as a sign of responsibility,” said Simone Pavesi, a spokesperson for Italian animal rights group LAV. “Today more than ever. The fires that are devasting Australia add to the massacres of hunting, with dramatic consequences for the kangaroo population.”
Italy is the biggest importer of kangaroo skin, and several prominent brands still use it to make sneakers and football boots. German multinational Adidas confirmed last year that it still uses kangaroo skin. However, Italian sportswear manufacturer Diadora banned the material last year.
The fashion industry, in general, is increasingly using sustainable alternatives to controversial animal products such as fur, exotic skins, and leather in general.