Selfridges to Ban Exotic Skins

LONDON — Selfridges will stop selling exotic skins by 2020, WWD has learned.

The British department store plans to phase out products made of python, alligator, lizard and crocodile skin — its ultimate aim being to only sell leather from agricultural livestock as of February 2020.

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“We are dedicated to being at the very forefront of future-thinking retail. For us, that’s a future where luxury is defined by craftsmanship and material innovation,” said Selfridges’ buying director Sebastian Manes.

The retailer is following on the footsteps of luxury brands including Victoria Beckham and Chanel, which have also halted the use of exotic skins. This follows a host of brands, including the likes of Gucci, Versace, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Diane von Furstenberg and Burberry, who have recently pledged to halt the use of fur.

Selfridges had banned real fur as of 2005 and is also spearheading a number of other initiatives to promote conscious consumption. As part of its Buying Better, Inspiring Change initiative – introduced in 2016 – the retailer is working towards ensuring that 50 percent of all its products are eco-friendly by 2022 and that “ethical and environmental considerations are made visible and accessible towards customers.”

Its Bright New Things campaign also highlights up-and-coming designers who are working sustainably, while an ongoing Project Ocean campaign highlights the issue of plastic waste. To take a stance against plastic, the retailer removed all single-use plastic water bottles from sale in 2015, and all single-use carbonated drinks bottles in 2018.

“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,” said Selfridges’ director of sustainability, Daniella Vega.

Selfridges’ latest move got the thumbs up from the global animal protection organization, Humane Society International.

“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,” said Claire Bass, the organization’s executive director.

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