Saga Furs Head of Sustainability, Charles Ross, overviews sustainability themes defining the fashion industry in 2018

In sustainability, events in the fashion industry in 2018 spurred the real fur versus fake fur debate, with real fur increasingly seen as the natural, fashion choice that doesn’t degrade the environment as an alternative to plastic fake fur garments. Natural fur products also have a strong tradition in the circular economy and can be repaired, remodelled, resold and recycled, even after 20 years or more, which is quite a different approach to today’s fast fashion.


Evidence still strongly suggests that Millennials want fur. Every year, Saga Furs teams up in a research consulting project with fashion MBA students from Universidad de Navarra in Madrid, and this year, the students concluded in their final presentation and report, that Millennials do want fur for fashion but that sustainability must be a guarantee, with environmentally certified supplier farms demonstrating the highest standards of animal welfare. According to the study, these Millennial customers don’t want to see the animals or the cages, but they do need to trust the brand.


It was interesting to see that some of the fashion students, who openly opposed fur production at the outset of the project gradually converted to a new viewpoint after conducting the sustainability research. Certainly, all of them were able to see the clear ecological benefits of using natural fur compared with fake fur in fashion.


However, in 2018, some global designers made the decision to move away from using fur from their collections, being increasingly influenced by the voice of the vegan lifestyle movement that’s affecting all animal-based product sectors. This year even leather was banned at Helsinki Fashion Week, with expectations for future bans on cashmere, wool, and silk.


Charles Ross, Head of Sustainability and Supply-chain Management