News by Maddy Coffey

Amidst a growing trend toward sustainable luxury fashion, London’s most renowned luxury department store has followed suit and pledged to ban all sales of exotic skins by 2020. “I am proud to confirm that exotic skins will no longer be available to purchase at Selfridges as of February 2020,” announced buying director Sebastian Manes.   

The move follows in the footsteps of Chanel, who became the first luxury fashion house in the world to stop using exotic animal skins. Victoria Beckham, Vivienne Westwood, and Diane von Furstenberg, alongside high street brands such as Topshop, H&M and Adidas, have also united in the ban.  

Having been fur-free since 2005, Selfridges said banning exotic skins was part of a “long-standing commitment to place ethics and sustainability at the heart of commercial decisions”. The ban is part of a broader strategy “to use its influence to encourage partners and people to buy responsibly, respect the planet and protect our future,” explains sustainability director Daniella Vega.

Selfridges introduced ‘The Buying Better, Inspiring Change’ initiative in 2016, which saw Selfridges make a commitment to ensure that 50 percent of all products are better for people and the planet by 2022. Changes already made include the brand’s signature yellow bags being made from recycled coffee cups, the removal of single-use plastic bottles in store, and since 2019, all clothes bags are now made with used plastic bottles.   “Buying Better Inspiring Change underpins our business and our culture,” explains Manes, who added that Selfridges is fixed on being at “the very forefront of future thinking retail… For us, that’s a future where luxury is defined by craftsmanship and material innovation.”  

Selfridges’ work towards a leading exemplar of eco-luxury has been welcomed globally. “Hats off to Selfridges – which had already banned fur, angora, and foie gras after persuasive talks with Peta – for now ending the sale of wild animals’ ‘exotic’ skins,” commented Yvonne Taylor, director of corporate projects at Peta.

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