French fashion house Chanel announced Monday that it would stop manufacturing products made from snakes, crocodiles, lizards and more, due to the lack of transparency in the supply chain.
“We are continually reviewing our supply chains to ensure they meet our expectations of integrity and traceability,” the company said in a statement. “In this context, it is our experience that it is becoming increasingly difficult to source exotic skins which match our ethical standards.”
Animal rights organization PETA was unaware Chanel intended to make such a grand change. According to the Business of Fashion¹, Christina Sewell, PETA’s manager of fashion campaigns, stated the news took her by surprise. And although she has been corresponding with Chanel executives about exotic skins since 2015, she hadn’t received an indication a course change was coming.
There hasn’t been any reaction from other luxury apparel companies to Chanel’s announcement, nor is there an expectation others will follow suit. But the announcement might cause more brands to personally invest in sourcing ethically. For example, CFDA award winning accessories designer Brother Vellies sources hornback crocodile [skins] from a century-old, family owned and operated farm in South Africa, where they literally wait for crocs to die of old age². This means the wait time for Crocodile Vellies is usually a year or more.
Last October, Chanel announced a new sustainable textiles project in collaboration with Pharrell’s bionic yarn. And Chanel has said it is working to “create a new generation of high-end products” using different materials.