In a move that animal-rights groups are hailing as historic, the Armani Group has committed to eliminating the use of fur in its collections across all brands, including Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, and A/X Armani Exchange. “Technical progress made over the years allows us to have valid alternatives at our disposal that render the use of cruel practices unnecessary as regards animals,” Giorgio Armani, the Italian company’s namesake founder, said in a statement released by the Fur-Free Alliance. “Pursuing the positive process undertaken long ago, my company is now taking a major step ahead, reflecting our attention to the critical issues of protecting and caring for the environment and animals.”

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All fur, including rabbit fur, will be verboten beginning with Armani’s Fall/Winter 2016 season, which hits stores in August.

“Armani’s fur-free announcement makes it clear that designers and consumers can have creative freedom and luxury all without supporting animal cruelty,” said Joh Vinding, chairman of the Fur-Free Alliance, a coalition of 40 animal-protection organizations across 28 countries dedicated to ending the fur trade.

Both the alliance and the Humane Society of the United States were instrumental in helping Armani develop its new policy.

“Mr. Armani has been a trendsetter in the fashion world for decades and this latest announcement is proof that compassion and innovation are the future of fashion,” Vinding added.

To hear Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, describe it, Armani’s heart was never really in his use of fur.

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“I had the honor of meeting with Mr. Armani in 2009 to discuss the company’s use of fur,” Pacelle wrote on his blog. “It was obvious then that the presence of fur in some of his lines weighed heavily on his conscience. I knew then that Mr. Armani cared deeply about animals and it would be just a matter of time before he directed the switch to fur-free alternatives.”

Pacelle says that the fashion industry’s equation of fur with luxury is “questionable” at best.

“You can buy strips of raccoon dog or fox fur for as little as $5 apiece or less,” he explained. “In fact, top quality faux fur can cost more. The quality of faux fur these days is exceptional and comes with no moral problems.”

Armani’s announcement follows a similar decision by Germany’s Hugo Boss, which pledged in 2015 to adopt a 100 percent fur-free policy by Fall/Winter 2016.

Pacelle added: “Mr. Armani’s leadership makes it clear that designers can achieve luxury and creative freedom without real animal fur.”

+ Armani Group

+ Fur-Free Alliance

+ Humane Society of the United States