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Selfridges becomes latest fashion retailer to stop selling exotic skins

The retailer plans to phase out such products by February 2020

Sarah Young
Tuesday 26 February 2019 18:25
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British luxury retailer Selfridges has announced plans to stop selling exotic skins.

The department store said it will phase out products made of python, alligator, lizard and crocodile skin.

Its ultimate aim is to only sell leather from agricultural livestock including cow or calf, sheep, pig, goat, water buffalo and lamb by February 2020.

“I am proud to confirm that exotic skins will no longer be available to purchase at Selfridges as of February 2020,” Selfridges’ buying director Sebastian Manes told ITV News.

“We will continue in our ambition to inspire our brands and customers through thoughtful, ethical and transparent buying strategies.”

The retailer banned products that used real fur in 2005 and says it prides itself on being a “responsible retailer and a trusted curator of brands”.

The announcement has since been praised by Humane Society International (HSI) – an organisation that works on animal protection issues around the world.

“It is wonderful to see Selfridges end the sale of exotic skins, a move that will save countless crocodiles and snakes from losing their lives,” HSI's UK executive director, Claire Bass, said in a statement.

“When Selfridges went fur-free more than a decade ago, it positioned itself as a retailer at the forefront of compassionate fashion.

“Banning exotic skins in recognition of the serious animal welfare issues that exist in this industry is a natural next step for a responsible retailer.“

Selfridges is also spearheading a number of other initiatives designed to promote sustainability including its Buying Better, Inspiring Change initiative.

The scheme, which was introduced in 2016, was designed to help the retailer work towards ensuring that 50 per cent of all its products are eco-friendly by 2022.

“As a leading global retailer, Selfridges seeks to use its influence to encourage partners and people to buy responsibly, respect the planet and protect our future,” Selfridges’ director of sustainability, Daniella Vega told WWD.

The retailer joins the likes of designers Victoria Beckham, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Diane Von Furstenberg who have all pledged to not use fur and exotic skins in their collections.

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A number of other big names, including Burberry, Gucci, Versace and Coach have also taken a stand against animal cruelty in recent years by banning the use of fur in their designs, opting for faux alternatives instead.

Earlier this year, online retailer Farfetch also announced plans to ban the sale of fur, saying it will drop fur from its collections as of December 2019.

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