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BREAKING NEWS: Free People Debuts Vegan Leather Collection While Selling Fur

Published on July 22, 2011 by   ·   5 Comments Pin It
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Is it opposites day or did I get two emails from readers today that said virtually opposite things about the same company? Free People debuts a vegan line of leather skirts and tops while Anthropologie debuts rabbit fur jackets for fall.

Email #1:

“I just wanted to let you know that Anthropologie, which has been fur-free for years and is on the HSUS retailers list as being fur-free, is in fact selling fur. As of at least last week, the store in Chelsea Market has a Leifsdottir black rabbit coat – the label left no doubt as it clearly states “rabbit”. Of course they don’t have it on their website, which smacks of disingenuity to me. I’m disgusted and wrote to ask Anthropologie about this and let them know that I can’t shop there anymore, but naturally I haven’t heard from them, so I’m reaching out to others to spread the word. I thought other girlie girls would want to know (and hopefully take action). Down with deception!”

Though now off the site, a simple search turned up their original description of the Riverside Drive Fur Coat; “The perfect topper for your favorite little black dress or high-waist jeans, Leifsdottir’s sweaterknit-lined, rabbit fur jacket.”



A disturbing undercover exposé of rabbit fur farms on two different continents shows that rabbit slaughter, no matter why or where it occurs, is always cruel. The video, narrated by actor Gillian Anderson, shows rabbits kicking and screaming during slaughter. After the skin is ripped from the rabbits’ bodies, it is sold to designers such as Leifsdottir —who uses rabbit fur in their new designs.  The undercover investigations of rabbit fur farms in China and France revealed pitiful living conditions for rabbits, who are confined to tiny wire cages before they are slaughtered. In the video footage from the investigation, workers at the Chinese farm pull rabbits out of cages by their ears and shock the screaming animals in the head with a handheld electrical device, often multiple times. Rabbits with slit throats can be seen twitching and shaking, with their eyes wide open, before they die.

Email #2:

“Free People Debuts Vegan Leather Collection!! This is fantastic! Check out the video that accompanies the collection explaining why they’re making vegan leather (it includes several employees who talk about being vegetarian.)”

Blank Vegan Leather Buttondown Shirt, $108 @ freepeople.com

So, in case you folks didn’t know… Anthropologie owns Free People.  Directly from their very own wiki page; “Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN) is a publicly traded American company that owns and operates six retail brands: Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain, Leifsdottir, a luxury brand for Anthropologie, and BHLDN.”

Why would the same company sell both fur and vegan leather? Because these guys are business tycoons, they will swing where the dollar takes ’em.  If they know their lesser priced lines (Free People) are already using cheap China-made fake leathers, why not market them as a vegan line as the movement grows in media popularity (many Anthropologie bigwigs read this blog, perhaps they finally figured out there is a market for us!)  And if they know that Anthropologie customers are wearing more fur, why not murder a few fuzzy wabbits for a hefty profit?

Now we dive into the always difficult question of … so, do we support the vegan line or not?  And our answer is yes and no.  Yes, we want to show them the vegan market exists and is a profitable one .. but why would we give them our pennies when entirely vegan owned and run fashion companies exist?  And on the other side of the coin, although internet shopping is de riguer, it’s nice for the average Jane in middle America to be able to pop into the mall and grab a vegan-marketed pair of shoes.  And perhaps if this is super successful, it will influence the company to choose more cruelty-free pieces and move away from unethical fabrics like fur, wool, and leather.

So…  for now – we want to email them letting them know fur is not okay to sell, ever. And that although you are thrilled they have debuted a vegan line, your dollar is better spent elsewhere until they take a stand with the animals and dump fur forevermore.

Email them at: service@anthropologie.com

What do you think about this? Hypocrisy or business as usual?  Let us know in the comments section below.

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