The fashion industry has been slammed lately for its unsustainable practices and for using animal materials. Consumers are carefully choosing where to spend their money, forcing brands to reassess their practices and evolve to more vegan-friendly approaches. Major luxury designer Prada has banned kangaroo leather, while Valentino will no longer use alpaca wool, and both designers are being praised for cutting back on the use of animal materials.

Prada confirmed the heritage Italian fashion house has banned all kangaroo leather from future collections and revealed it hasn't used kangaroo in designs for more than a year. Animal rights groups like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV), an Italian group, are praising Prada for its decision to ban the use of kangaroo from now on.

Both organizations are encouraging Prada to ban other exotic animal skins like alligator, python, and ostrich leather from its collections. Prada is following in the footsteps of other major fashion houses like Versace and Chanel as well as Victoria Beckham and Paul Smith, which also banned kangaroo leather.

Regulations banning kangaroo skin are slowly being put in place in states like California, which prohibits the sale and import of athletic shoes made with kangaroo leather. Those who don't follow the new law will be fined up to $5,000 and can face six months in jail for each violation. This past July, the Center for a Humane Economy exposed Dick’s Sporting Goods, Nike, and New Balance as a few retailers selling soccer shoes made with Kangaroo leather

Valentino bans alpaca wool after PETA's exposé.

Another Italian fashion house, Valentino, has just announced a ban on alpaca fleece, making it the first luxury brand to do so. Valentino made the decision to discontinue alpaca wool at the end of 2021 after PETA's exposé of Malkini, the largest privately-owned alpaca farm in Peru.

Malkini had previously claimed to be an alpaca sanctuary, but PETA exposed alpacas being abused and harmed in the process of "shearing" the animals. The exposé showed alpacas in severe distress. “Valentino’s savvy and compassionate choice will prevent many alpacas from being tortured for fashion,” says PETA spokesperson Emily Rice.

Clothing companies UNIQLO, Esprit, and Marks & Spencer have also banned the alpaca wool from its clothes. Brands like Marks & Spencer are not only banning material like alpaca wool but also coming out with vegan footwear for all genders and age-groups. Gap Inc, owner of Banana Republic, Intermix, Athleta and many other well-known brands have severed ties with Michele Group, the parent company of Malkini.

Vegan clothing used to be a hard item to come by, sold by smaller brands, but now major names like Stella McCartney and Melie Bianco are part of the reason vegan fashion has become so popular, along with a new interest in sustainability and planet-friendly production. The vegan lifestyle has shifted from edge to mainstream, an evolution industry insiders not too long ago believed was too hard to achieve. Now vegan-friendly materials and sustainable production operations are becoming the new norm. As more brands continue to ban the use of animal materials, dressing vegan will be easier than ever.

Just yesterday Paragpon sports announced that it will no longer carry the once-popular Canada Goose brand and New York City is in the process of banning fur sales, while Macy's and other major retailers announced they would close their fur departments this year.

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