Online fashion giant Asos to ban mohair, cashmere, silk and feathers from 2019

Lucy Purdy

Shifting consumer expectations are reportedly behind the decision by Asos to ban certain animal-derived products from sale from next year

Attracting 64.4m visits between December 2017 to May this year alone, Asos is the second biggest clothing site in the UK. And bosses there announced this week that they will ban certain animal-derived products from the site from 2019.

Silk, mohair, cashmere and feathers will no longer be sold through the site, as well as products that use down, teeth and bone – including mother-of-pearl, which is taken from the shells of molluscs.

A company spokesman confirmed to Positive News today that the products will no longer be stocked from January 2019 as part of an updated Asos animal welfare policy. It brings third party products – those manufactured by companies other than Asos itself – in line with Asos’ own collections, which are already free from feathers, down, bone, shell and teeth. Asos sells more than 850 other labels, as well as its own-brand clothing and accessories. Silk, cashmere and mohair are new additions to the policy, which reads: “Asos firmly believes it is not acceptable for animals to suffer in the name of fashion or cosmetics.”

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The decision has been welcomed by animal rights organisation Peta, which said Asos was “leading the charge for compassion in fashion”.

Peta’s spokeswoman, director of corporate projects Yvonne Taylor, added: “Consumers are changing the face of the industry by demanding that designers and retailers ditch animal-derived materials in favour of cruelty-free alternatives that look great without causing suffering.”

Some cashmere goats are said to be subjected to winter shearings, leaving them exposed to freezing temperatures, while Peta say that some angora goats are mutilated in order to produce fluffy mohair. The silk production process has seen some manufacturers boiling silk worms inside their cocoons. Peta say that around 6,600 of them are killed to make every kilogram of silk.

Consumers are changing the face of the industry by demanding that designers and retailers ditch animal-derived materials in favour of cruelty-free alternatives

Asos follows the lead of Zara, H&M and Topshop, who all pledged last month to stop using mohair. Asos’ decision is thought to be linked to an increasing awareness of animal rights issues among the site’s target market: shoppers aged in their 20s and 30s.

While Asos is known for its affordable fashion, at the top end of the fashion industry, Gucci, Michael Kors and Versace all pledged to go fur-free in the last year.

There is no need to use animal-derived products at a time when so many high-performing alternatives exist, many believe. The statement from Peta continued: “Not only are today’s luxurious vegan fabrics indistinguishable from animal-based fibres, they’re often also higher-performing and less harmful to the environment.”

Image: a shot from a recent Asos fashion campaign

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