New York City

Banning fur is bad for New York

The City Council’s proposed ban on the sale of fur throughout the five boroughs should give pause to anyone who cares about jobs and being able to choose what they want to purchase, writes Karen Giberson, president of the Accessories Council.

A clothing rack full of fur coats.

A clothing rack full of fur coats. ChiccoDodiFC/Shutterstock

The New York City Council’s proposed ban on the sale of fur throughout the five boroughs should give pause to anyone who cares about jobs and being able to choose what they want to purchase, wear or even eat. As the head of the Accessories Council, representing hundreds of fashion designers and brands in New York and across the country, this law would be a major blow to our industry, our creative freedom and our employees.

The bill, which says it would prohibit “the sale of fur apparel,” is very misleading, as it covers other materials as shearling and calf-hair leather, which are not traditionally classified or recognized as “fur.” In addition, the term “apparel” is defined as any clothing or accessory using these materials in full or in part. Hence, the proposed law goes far beyond its title in materials and category reach.

A ban on any of these products, however, is unacceptable. The bill, which was just introduced in late March, is being inexplicably fast tracked to the hearing stage, which has been scheduled for May 15. This does not allow our industry ample time to prepare or accurately study the implications of this decision. We are baffled as to why there is a sudden rush to pass this legislation.

If government can pick and choose to eliminate a specific material, then what’s to stop politicians from telling us what else we can’t wear, eat and create moving forward? As the fashion capital of the world, we must work with textiles and fabrics that our customers are demanding today. Our industry has embraced a variety of materials, including vegan leathers, faux furs and other options that are being developed every day. That said, calf hair, shearling and fur still play a significant and sustainable role in our designs – from shoes, handbags, gloves and hats, to trim and cuffs on coats.

Fur is already a heavily regulated industry, with rules covering from farming and trapping standards to ethics to labeling. The animal byproducts are used in a variety of other products, from the beauty industry to compost and fertilizers. We encourage all to learn more about the process. If you don’t like these materials, you don’t need to use them, to manufacture with them or buy them as a consumer.

New York City is the hub of retail, wholesale, trade shows and commerce for many fashion accessory companies. The ban preventing any sale of these products would cut off one of designers’ largest markets, negatively impacting their livelihoods and those of the suppliers and retail shops they work with. In all, a recent economic study commissioned by the International Fur Federation Americas found the ban would result in $850 million in lost taxable business revenue and cost New York City 7,500 jobs in the first year alone.

According to a survey we conducted this month of accessory and outerwear companies in Manhattan’s Garment District, more than 90 of the factories there use these materials, making items such as gloves, handbags and outerwear. One of them, Cockpit USA, makes shearling coats for the United States military. These are specialized experts. If the “fur ban” passes, some of them would need to close their businesses, while others would face significant layoffs.

Let’s be realistic: If the law passes and a manufacturer can’t sell in New York City, the owner has two choices: close up the business and fire all employees or lay off workers and rent space in New Jersey, Yonkers or Nassau County to ship the product. Either way, once again New York City loses much-needed manufacturing jobs – but this time it’s by its own direct action.

Losing valuable blue-collar jobs is not the only unintended consequence of this legislation. Council members have championed environmental issues. In this case, they fail to recognize the negative environmental impacts of synthetic materials. Most fake furs are petroleum-based and do not biodegrade. One faux fur coat is the equivalent of thousands of plastic straws.

My biggest concern, however, is that a fur ban would be just the start. Animal rights activists have made no secret of the fact that their eventual goal is to ban the use of all animal products. If the City Council succeeds in banning fur today, they will next take aim at leather, feathers, wool and silk.

To wear fur, like any consumer product, is a choice. It’s one New Yorkers have been making for hundreds of years and a product that remains in high demand today. It’s not the job of City Council members to legislate away livelihoods simply because fur is a choice some of them wouldn’t make for themselves.

Correction: Due to a misplaced comma, this article incorrectly implied that the proposed legislation would ban leather, not just cow-hair leather. 

NEXT STORY: Fashion is thriving without fur

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.