Why did Gucci sell a rabbit fur hat after it banned all fur in 2017?
In 2017 Gucci sent out a widely publicised press release that the Florentine fashion house would ban fur from its collections. In a statement the company said its new policy underlined a modern and ethical vision for luxury.
While Gucci's fur-trimmed loafers were an enormous profit driver after their debut in 2015, from its SS18 collection onward Gucci stopped using kangaroo fur inside its loafer line and replaced it with lambswool. The brand also halted the use of angora. In 2021 Gucci said it was reviewing its strategic approach to all the raw materials found in its collections, including new solutions for categories like leather, where from 2025 any and all leather used must be traceable to farms.
And then there was a felt hat with rabbit
Despite its ban, products manufactured with rabbit fur were found in Gucci’s stores just this week. Awkwardly, a felt hat that was being promoted for Lunar New Year – the year of the rabbit – actually contained bona fide rabbit fur.
Called out by Rebecca C on LinkedIn, she wrote in a post that “Gucci is part of the Fur Free Alliance's ‘Fur Free Retailer’ program and as of 2021, parent company Kering went fur-free too.
But now, their new collection and ad campaign “A Tribute to the Year of the Rabbit’ features a hat which the company states is made of real rabbit fur felt.
Exploiting rabbits in ads while selling products that harm them is not the way to celebrate the year of the rabbit.”
Within a matter of days Gucci responded by removing the products from its stores, but did not make a public statement. The question remains, where does the responsibility lie for its gross misjudgment?
Many brands and luxury houses have gone to great lengths (and ceremony), making public statements about banning fur and taking responsibility for sustainable manufacturing. What baffles is the long chain of command from conception to production where there was not a single flag to object to having rabbit fur: From the designers who chose the fabrics, to the production team placing material orders, to the folks overseeing the factories and sewing? And then the marketing team that ok-ed the Year of the Rabbit campaign who did not notice the furry hat contained real rabbit, nor the sales staff who work in Gucci’s stores, the very retail operators that said would no longer carry fur.
Doesn't anyone read the label?