Alessandro Michele’s Renaissance aristo woman has long been depicted as one not afraid to raid the 1970s wardrobe vaults – and that includes nicking those Margot Tenenbaum-style fur coats to wear with her tan tights and fluffy loafers. But that’s set to change as of this season: Gucci will join the Fur-Free Alliance from spring/summer 2018, CEO Marco Bizzarri announced this evening.
Speaking at the 2017 Kering Talk at the London College of Fashion, Bizzarri revealed he had taken the ground-breaking decision to remove fur from all of Gucci‘s collections, and hoped other luxury brands would follow suit. “We’ve been talking about it, Alessandro [Michele] and I, for a few months. Technology is now available that means you don’t need to use fur. The alternatives are luxurious. There is just no need,” Bizzarri told Vogue. The brand currently sells a wide variety of furs, including a mink coat listed on its website for £25,920 as well as a lamb fur coat for £11,340. Gucci’s fur-free policy going forward will include mink, coyote, raccoon dog, fox, rabbit, and karakul (otherwise known as Swakara, Persian lamb or astrakhan) and all others species specially bred or caught for fur.
Bizzarri went on to reveal that he takes advice from some of the youngest people currently working at Gucci, and recently invited employees under the age of 30 to attend a series of lunches in order to obtain their unique perspective on where the brand was going wrong. “Young kids are more intelligent and more confident than us,” he told the talk’s host, Eco-Age founder Livia Firth. “Experience can be a prison. To be a leader, we need to learn as well as teach. I asked around 150 young people working for Gucci across the world to tell me three things wrong with Gucci. I was seeing the company from the bottom to the top.” He revealed a “shadow committee” of young people had also been set up to mirror the meetings taken by the CEO and senior management. “I wanted to see if they came up with different solutions to us,” he explained. “It’s important to get a new perspective.”
When asked about the extraordinary financial success of the company – sales were up 48.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, and 39.3 in the second – he cited company culture as a major factor. “A journalist came recently to the headquarters and said to me, ‘All the people are smiling’,” Bizzarri said. “At Gucci it’s an incredible team. You have to let people take risks, make a mistake – not twice, but once! – and allow everyone to make a difference. It’s all about people.” The evening also revealed that Gucci will contribute Euro 1 million as a founding partner of UNICEF’s Girls’ Empowerment Initiative. Bizzarri suggested that this will help UNICEF reach more than 50,000 girls directly with programmes aimed at empowering them, and indirectly reach 150,000 more.
Bizzarri said he hoped Gucci’s decision to go fur-free would encourage other high-profile brands to follow suit. “Gucci is so visible, so well-known – we need to use that in a positive way.”
See Gucci’s spring/summer 2018 collection below.