PARIS (Reuters) - Italy's Gucci will stop using fur in its designs from next year, joining a growing number of fashion houses looking at alternatives amid pressure from animal rights activists and changing consumer tastes.
Gucci, part of Paris-based luxury conglomerate Kering, has seen its sales rise over the past two years under creative director Alessandro Michele.
Marco Bizzarri, Gucci's chief executive, said the brand would drop fur starting from its spring and summer 2018 collection, adding that the decision had been taken alongside Michele.
"In selecting a new creative director I wanted to find someone who shared a belief in the importance of the same values," Bizzarri said.
Gucci, which has produced fur-lined loafers and luxurious mink fur coats in the past, is the latest label or major retailer to stop using fur.
In June, Yoox Net-A-Porter, a multi-brand online luxury retailer, adopted a fur-free policy on accessories and clothing sold on the site.
Anti-fur protesters have been known to demonstrate outside catwalk shows at fashion weeks around the world to call for an end to practices many see as cruel to animals, and luxury goods buyers have become more sensitive to environmental issues, too.
Many top end labels are tightening their policies on how leather is sourced from tanneries and how they obtain furs, after a series of scandals over how animals are treated in breeding farms.
Animal rights campaigners welcomed the move from Gucci, saying it could have a knock-on effect.
"Gucci's decision will radically change the future of fashion," Simone Pavesi, manager of animal-free fashion at Italian campaign group LAV. "As fashion becomes more and more ethical, supply chains that revolve around animals will be a thing of the past."
(Reporting by Sarah White; editing by Jason Neely)