PETA has bought stakes in two dozen brands and retailers and will be using its position as a shareholder to exert pressure on them to ban wool, mohair and cashmere products.
The animal rights group has acquired stakes in Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Urban Outfitters and Versace and Michael Kors parent Capri Holdings among others.
Given the success of its long-standing campaign to encourage fashion companies to ban fur, the group has now turned its attentions to wool, mohair and cashmere and wants to encourage brands to adopt vegan alternatives.
“Today’s kind consumers want to support companies that share their values and sell chic and comfortable vegan jumpers and coats only,” said PETA Director Elisa Allen. “PETA US is heading to the boardroom to pressure retailers from Ralph Lauren to Urban Outfitters not to sell items that animals suffered and died for.”
The group says it has exposed cruelty in the supply chain of wool, cashmere and mohair in South Africa, Australia and China where animals died agonising deaths and were beaten.
A number of brands and retailers have already banned cashmere and mohair but the call to ban wool is likely to prove trickier. Following pressure from PETA last year, fast fashion etailer Boohoo banned wool products from its site only to backtrack a matter of days later after a backlash from the public and from farmers who insist their animals are treated humanely. The company has since vowed to ensure all of its wool products are ethically sourced.
In February PETA announced it was abandoning its “I’d rather go naked that wear fur” campaign that had run for 30 years after fashion houses across the globe from Chanel to Burberry, Versace, Michael Kors, Gucci and many others all dropped fur from their collections.
It said at the time it would be turning its attentions to other animal products and operates under the strapline of “animals are not ours to wear”.
Other companies in which it has bought shares include Deckers (parent of UGG), Tapestry (parent of Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman), Guess, Lands’ End and Qurate Retail Group (parent of QVC and HSN). Earlier this year it acquired a stake in Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group to exert pressure on it to re-implement a ban on selling fur products in House of Fraser.