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The coordinated effort is timed for the start of New York Fashion Week, which signals the launch of the more unofficial fashion month as buyers, influencers and editors will be off to London, Milan and Paris. Spearheaded by the Fur Free Alliance, a group of 40 animal-protection organizations from 30-plus countries, the initiative calls on supporters to use social media, phone calls and e-mails to reach out to Prada asking the company to stop using fur in its collections. The group is also getting help with outreach from Care2. Their efforts will start in Japan, according to PJ Smith, senior manager of fashion policy for the Humane Society of the U.S.
He said Wednesday via e-mail, “The Fur Free Alliance has been reaching out to Prada’s executive staff and board members since May. We e-mailed executive staff and board members and spoke with a senior vice president in July to let them know about the impending Fur Free Alliance global campaign, and last week we spoke with another member of senior staff from the Milan office.”
In a phone interview, he declined to identify which executives were approached by the group. “I’m still in conversation with them so I don’t want to kind of ruffle their feathers at this point. I believe there’s still a very good chance that they will go fur-free.”
Executives at Prada declined to comment Wednesday.
Smith said the company had been notified that a campaign would be started shortly. “I believe there is a chance that they could go fur-free, but we have gotten no indication that they are on that direction besides what Miuccia Prada has said in WWD.”
In April, she told WWD of the fur debate: “This subject would need very lengthy discussion. And once you approach fur, you should possibly approach the larger issue of sustainability and environment and maybe much more, all issues that our company is committed to. I have always preferred doing, acting, instead of making announcements: Of course, we are researching and analyzing the possibilities very seriously, and I have stopped showing fur on the catwalk. The subject is serious and has to be addressed, but let’s not forget it’s a small part of a much bigger picture that needs the same attention.”
Animal rights supporters are leaning on Prada with the hope that the brand will follow in the footsteps of Gucci, Versace, Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, which pledged to stop using fur in their collections.