Mulberry announced it will no longer use exotic leather. Brooks Brothers does the same. The news report could end here: two brands, British and US-based, respectively (even though owned by an Italian), add reptiles and ostrich to the list of materials they will no longer use for their collections. But if we were to summarize this news, we would be missing an important point: the vegan matter.
The riotous movement
Do you know who commented on these decisions, and of course took all the credit? PETA, the radical vegan-friendly association that fights (with what tools we will discuss another time) against the use of any animal material in fashion, whether it is wool, leather or fur. This very fact shows the level of the riotous movement currently taking place.
A few weeks ago, the SMCP group, which manages brands such as Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot, announced the similar choice: “We will no longer use exotic leather in our collections”. It has little to do with the fact that even before this announcement, it made very limited use of such materials. Fact is that the group’s priority was communicating to everybody something that puts them in a good light for a part of the public.
The vegan matter
Both Mulberry and Brooks Brothers have always used exotic leather in limited amounts, and it surely wasn’t an identifying element of the brands: in the image shown, is the handbag of the first brand (in printed calf leather) and a pair of gloves made by the latter (in crocodile). What is concerning now isn’t the industrial impact of the decisions, but the potential domino effect from media reports. It’s a mechanism that the fur segment knows well: many brands, whether they were using fur in small or larger quantities, all raced to be added to the fur-free list.
Why? Because it become “a must”, after Gucci decided to do it. Now the same trend is developing for exotic leather. After Chanel announced its decision to stop using it, there isn’t an explanation that can change minds: exotic leather is in the crosshairs. It’s the law of marketing: one bust be liked by the ones that are liked, even if such entities and people speak of sustainability, but (often) know very little about it.