Something was clearly missing from Stockholm Fashion Week’s virtual catwalk on Aug. 25, and it wasn’t just a physical audience.
Five days before, the show’s organizers said that fur and exotic skins had been banned from the lineup. Fur wasn’t surprising; among younger Western consumers, at least, fur has been steadily slipping down the rungs of popularity, prompting even luxury stalwarts like Burberry, Gucci and Prada to jettison the material in order to secure their holds on hearts and wallets alike.
Exotic skins, on the other hand, was new … ish. While London Fashion Week, one of the four major fashion weeks, banned fur in 2018, the only other runway events to outlaw exotic skins — the stuff of alligator handbags, python coats, galuchat wallets and stingray stilettos — were the minor Melbourne and Helsinki fashion weeks, also in 2018.
Signs abound, however, that a fur-like reckoning is coming for exotic skins, partly buoyed by the pandemic, which may be linked to illegal wildlife trafficking.
Before the coronavirus spread, brands like Chanel, Diane von Furstenberg and Mulberry were already dropping exotic hides, once inextricable from high fashion, because of animal-welfare concerns and other supply-chain issues. Amid the pandemic, the momentum has only grown.