Luxury department store Neiman Marcus has announced that it will end all fur sales by 2023 which sounds great but we want to know what took them so long. The move follows a growing list of retailers and designers that have removed fur, including Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue, making Neiman's the last bastion to do so. The Neiman Marcus Group (NMG), Neiman Marcus’ parent company, decided to remove fur from its websites to minimize its fur production until it completely disbands its fur sector. The company will also shut down its 22 fur salons.

“We are delivering an ultimate luxury experience for our customers and their evolving preferences,” NMG’s CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck said. “We are updating our assortment to feature multiple sustainable and ethical luxury fashion categories. It is clear the future is fur-free, and that includes the ultra-luxury space. As a leader in luxury retail, NMG has an opportunity to help build a better future for our industry. We’re grateful to the Humane Society of the United States for their partnership.”

For decades, animal rights groups have petitioned Neiman Marcus to reconsider featuring fur in the companies selection of clothing. The activist organization including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), PETA, In Defense of Animal (IDA), and more have pushed for Neiman Marcus to join other companies that have made the decision to ban fur sales. Ingrid Newkirk - the president of  PETA - has been petitioning Neiman Marcus since the 1980s, and after decades of work, the retail giant finally ceased its fur distribution.

“After decades of pressure from relentless grassroots activists and PETA, Neiman Marcus Group will end fur sales at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goldman,” Newkirk said. “Many thousands of animals will be spared from being electrocuted, gassed, and beaten to death by closing down its 22 fur salons. We are sure the company will move more quickly to end fur sales than the stated end goal as no one wants to be caught dead in fur anymore.”

The animal rights activists continue to push for the fur to be taken off the shelves and for manufacturing to stop globally. As the fashion industry changes, more consumers begin to realize the ethical dilemma surrounding fur products. Coinciding with the increased interest in plant-based lifestyles, consumer behavior has pushed the fashion industry to rethink its luxury material.

“We work with retailers to adopt fur-free policies because they have the capacity to save hundreds of thousands - perhaps millions - of mink, foxes, raccoon, dogs, rabbits, and chinchillas from ever having to know what the inside of the cramped fur-farm cage looks like,” HSUS CEO and President Kitty Block said. “Plus, fur-free policies help forge a more humane world for animals by challenging the fur trade head-on and eliminating the demand for its products, making production economically unviable.

“For a top luxury retailer like Neiman Marcus to now join the campaign for a more humane world is a nod to all those who have been fighting against fur for so long. Together, with compassion and perseverance, we are making a difference for so many animals.”

The Fur Free Alliance continues to gain traction as Neiman Marcus becomes the latest fashion company to join the movement. The Fur Free Alliance now counts more than 1,500 stores that have dropped fur from their shelves including H&M, Zara, Prada, Adidas, Valentino, Gucci, and most recently Canada Goose. With more companies listening to changing consumer behavior, the Fur Free Alliance only expects to keep expanding across the fashion industry and eventually into legislation.

“Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and TJ Maxx have now joined the ever-expanding group of compassionate retailers, making it clear that fur is ugly, outdated, and cruel,” IDA Fur Campaigner Julie Massa said. “No animal should die for fashion, and we urge all states to follow in the footsteps of Neiman Marcus and other major retailers bypassing legal bans on all fur sales.”

California passed a complete ban on the sale and manufacture of fur, marking the first time a state government has enacted this policy. The bill will go into effect in 2023, making it impossible to purchase or distribute fur across the entire state. Outside of the United States, other countries plan to update policies regarding fur sales and production. Israel recently became the first country to completely prohibit fur (with some religious exceptions) countrywide.

With support from designer Stella McCartney and the Humane Society International (HSI), the United Kingdom is planning to revisit its 2003 fur production ban to make its policies more encompassing regarding imports. Alongside the updated ban, the HSI is also petitioning British retailers to follow Neiman Marcus’ example.

“With every luxury retailer that goes fur-free, the more the UK’s last remaining fur-selling department stores Harrods, House of Fraser, Flannels, and Harvey Nichols are looking increasingly isolated,” Fur is firmly out of fashion, the vast majority of British consumers consider retailers still selling animal fur to be ‘outdated,’ ‘cruel,’ ‘out of touch,’ and ‘unethical.’”

As the United States and worldwide fashion industry begins to step away from fur, the US government has taken steps to pass a nationwide ban on fur sales. States like Virginia and Nevada have taken steps to enact fur bans, but animal activist groups realize these changes only mark the start of a global shift away from fur farming and sales.

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