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Some brands are shunning fur but luxury powerhouse LVMH, which owns premium brands including Dior, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, and Louis Vuitton, hasn't made the move.
Antoine Arnault — a member of the conglomerate's board, the company's head of image and environment, and son of Bernard Arnault, Europe's richest person — explained why some of LVMH's brands are continuing to sell fur, at FT Live's Business of Luxury Summit on Thursday.
Arnault said that LVMH was encouraging its brands to use lab-made fur but that their designers ultimately had full creative control, including getting to decide which materials they used.
Arnault said that the fur industry created jobs, with whole companies depending on its trade.
According to Arnault, if LVMH didn't sell fur, consumers would go to other brands that don't produce it as responsibly.
"We are not for animal cruelty, of course we fight against it," Arnault said. The French luxury conglomerate has come under pressure from some activists, such as PETA, to halt sales of products made from fur and the skins of exotic animals.
LVMH owns Italian fashion and accessories brand Fendi, which makes products including fox and mink fur jackets and bags made from ostrich, python, and crocodile leather.
Fendi says that all of its raw materials will be "responsibly sourced" by 2026. The brand says it only purchases exotic leathers from farms with strict standards on animal welfare and says it has the "highest ethical sourcing standards" for buying fur.
"Our mission is the ethical supply of quality furs to our customers who have chosen freely to wear fur, and we are unwaveringly committed to respecting everyone's opinion and freedom of choice," Fendi says on its website.
As demand for fur has dropped globally, companies making lab-grown fur have sprung up. LVMH and Fendi announced in April that they were working with Imperial College London and Central Saint Martins, UAL, to develop lab-grown fur fibres using keratin.
"Lab-grown fur seems like a much better option to me than fake fur," Arnault said at the Luxury of Business Summit. He said that the company was open to change but that lab-grown fur needed to have the same durability and value perception from customers for it to be rolled out across the company.
Arnault said that the LVMH is also trying to encourage sustainability by selling unused fabrics from its brands at discount prices. The online store opened last April and sells leftover fabrics and leathers, with the cheapest currently priced at $2 ($2.12) a meter.
Nordstrom had previously announced that it would no longer sell products made with real fur or exotic animal skin by the end of 2021. The retailer hadn't used them in its own-brand product in years, but said the ban would cover third-party brands it carries, too. Its website, however, lists seven women's coats, some of which featured genuine fur. These included including some made from lamb skin and one with a rabbit fur trim.
The company didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, made outside of normal working hours.