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Chanel Says It Will Stop Using Exotic Skins

Crocodile, lizard, snake and stingray are officially out of commission.
An exotic handbag from Chanel's Fall 2018 runway show. Photo: Imaxtree

An exotic handbag from Chanel's Fall 2018 runway show. Photo: Imaxtree

Chanel had some ethics-related news to announce ahead of its highly anticipated pre-fall Metiers d'Art show taking place in New York on Tuesday. (Perhaps the brand hoped to eliminate any possibility of disruption by animal rights activists?) As first reported by WWD, the French house announced on Monday that it will "no longer use exotic skins in our future creations," per an official statement. 

That includes crocodile, lizard, snake and galuchat, which comes from the skin of sharks and stingrays. WWD said the brand would also cease use of fur, of which it used very little. The reason? It's finding it more difficult than ever to source those materials in ways that "match [their] ethical standards."

"This is a decision which provides an opportunity to create a new generation of high-end products that respect our fundamentals: the exceptional creativity of our Creative Studio, our expertise, our standards of excellence, noble and innovative materials and exceptional finish," the statement concludes.

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This means that existing Chanel exotic leather goods will become all the more rare and likely valuable on the resale market. But more importantly, with so many announcements like these coming from luxury brands lately, especially in regards to eliminating fur, it's starting to feel like 2018 was truly the year that high-end fashion started to meaningfully get on board with sustainable and ethical sourcing. While exotic skins haven't been on the chopping block as frequently as fur for luxury companies, many have bought or established their own farms to better oversee and control how the animals are treated.

Note: This article was updated to reference an official statement provided by Chanel.

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