American fashion giant Ralph Lauren has banned the use of mohair across all of its lines, including Ralph Lauren Home, Polo Ralph Lauren, Chaps, Club Monaco, and American Living.
The company, which has products in nearly 13,000 locations around the world, decided to ban the material after viewing an exposé filmed by the animal rights organization PETA. The video shows goats being abused for their fur. “Baby goats were left screaming in pain and fear on the shearing floor,” said Anne Brainard, PETA’s director of corporate affairs. “All for mohair sweaters and scarves.”
Brainard praised Ralph Lauren for its decision in a recent statement. “PETA’s exposé pulled back the curtain on the violent mohair industry, and Ralph Lauren responded by banning the cruelly produced material. Ralph Lauren has joined the growing list of fashion brands that recognize that today’s shoppers don’t support cruelty to animals in the fashion industry.”
In banning mohair, Ralph Lauren joins a number of brands opting to become more cruelty-free. In early July, online retailer Missguided confirmed it would no longer sell the material, along with Diane Von Furstenberg, New Look, Boohoo, River Island, Primark, PrettyLittleThing, Marks & Spencer, Forever 21, and 92 other designers and retailers.
But it’s not just mohair that fashion brands are becoming more wary of —fur is also falling out of favor, along with leather, and even wool. In June, major fashion label Gucci decided to ban angora rabbit wool across all of its collections. The decision, again, came in response to a campaign led by PETA. “Gucci has taken an important step toward eliminating cruelty in its designs by banning angora wool,” said executive vice president of the organization Tracy Reiman. “No more fur will be torn out of gentle rabbits for a sweater, and PETA encourages high-end designers to follow Gucci’s lead.”
However, time and money are being invested into finding alternatives. The 2018 Biodesign Challenge, led by PETA and ethical fashion designer Stella McCartney, saw students create “Woocoa,” a hemp and coconut-based alternative to animal wool.
“The kind minds behind Woocoa came up with an eco-friendly, biofabricated material that will satisfy consumers and keep sheep from being shorn bloody for cruelly obtained wool,” Brainard said.
Image Credit: Ralph Lauren