Italian luxury label Versace has banned kangaroo skin.
The fashion house previously used kangaroo skin in its luxury leather collection. However, following pressure from the Italian animal rights group LAV, it has stopped using it completely.
“We have been corresponding with Versace over email and they confirmed that in 2019 they stopped using kangaroo skin,” said Simone Pavesi –a spokesperson for LAV–in a statement.
“We welcome this as a sign of responsibility,” Pavesi continued. “Today more than ever. The fires that are devasting Australia add to the massacres of hunting, with dramatic consequences for the kangaroo population.”
An estimated one billion animals–including kangaroos and koalas–have died in Australia’s bushfires. “This is a real environmental catastrophe that risks erasing many animal species from the face of the Earth,” added Pavesi.
A representative for Versace confirmed to the Guardian, “we do not have an official statement on this matter but we can confirm the definitive stop of the use of kangaroo leather starting from the 2019 collections.”
In 2018, Versace banned fur. The head of the label Donatella Versace told the Economist’s 1843 magazine at the time, “fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.”
The brand still uses other animal-based materials, including cashmere, silk, leather, and wool, in its collections.
Ditching Kangaroo Skin and Meat
Italy is the biggest importer of kangaroo skin–a number of brands use it to make sneakers and football boots. Like Versace, sportswear brand Diadora banned the material last year.
LAV believes there should be a blanket ban on imports of kangaroo skin and has urged the Italian government to make the trade illegal in the country.
In Belgium–the biggest importer of kangaroo meat–animal rights activists are also having an impact on major companies.
Earlier this week, Carrefour announced it would no longer sell kangaroo meat in its Belgian stores, following pressure from Belgian animal rights organization Global Action in the Interest of Animals (GAIA).
GAIA is now asking other supermarkets–including Makro, Match, and Cora–to do the same.