Nordstrom Latest to Stop Selling Fur, Exotic Skins

Nordstrom will no longer sell products made from animal fur or exotic skins.

The Seattle-based retailer said the decision was made following conversations with the Humane Society of the U.S. and the ban on the sale of products like fur coats and accessories made from snakeskin, for example, will go into effect by the end of next year. The retailer’s decision includes all of its retail, including e-commerce, as well as its off-price locations Nordstrom Rack and Last Chance.

“Our private label brands haven’t used these materials for years, so extending this policy to all the brands we carry is a natural next step for our business,” said Nordstrom chief merchant Teri Bariquit.

She also mentioned the decision being based, at least in part, on “customer feedback.”

While other retailers such as Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have agreed to stop selling fur, Nordstrom is actually the first retailer in the U.S. to agree to stop selling exotic skins as well, commonly used in shoes, bags and belts. All of the retailers will continue to trade in leather goods, as well as shearling, as that material is generally considered to come out of the food industry.

“This is a pivotal step toward a more humane business model and a safer world for animals, sending a clear message that animals should not suffer for the sake of fashion,” Kitty Block, president and chief executive officer of HSUS, said. “Nordstrom’s decision will surely have a ripple effect on other influential fashion leaders.”

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The animal advocacy group has been lobbying retailers and brands for the last few years to stop selling and designing with fur and skins citing cruelty concerns. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been doing the same, but more recently started pushing for more animal-based fibers to be abandoned, like mohair, cashmere and silk.

Efforts have been successful with a number of brands. Gucci, Chanel, Michael Kors, Prada, Jimmy Choo and Versace have all said they will no longer produce collections that use fur, most after decades of use. Michael Kors even had a separate fur collection for many years. Apparel groups such as G-III, PVH and SMCP have also said the same.

Even some cities have decided to enact bans on new fur sales and their manufacture, with exceptions made for vintage goods and garments used for religious purposes. San Fransisco’s ban on new fur sales and production went into effect this year while an adopted ban for Los Angeles will go into effect next year. California Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019 signed a bill that will ban new fur sales and fur production in the entire state starting in 2023. None of the bans stop a person from buying for personal use a fur product sold legally online and shipping it over state lines. The city and state of New York are also said to be considering similar bans on fur products, as is the state of Hawaii.

Pro-fur groups have attempted to fight the bans, initially arguing they hamper small business. Pro-fur groups largely shifted to arguing the use of fur from animals is the more environmentally friendly option when compared to faux fur, which is typically made from types of plastics found that can cause damage to the environment. In a lawsuit attempting to halt the ban in San Francisco, London-based pro-fur group International Fur Federation argued that the ban was unconstitutional. The argument in July was dismissed by a federal judge.

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