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| 1 minute read

Staying Fly...Are Feathers The Next Fashion Faux Pas?

The growing global movement against the use of real feathers in fashion now begs the question - if major retailers and luxury brands have eliminated real fur from their products, and jurisdictions are increasingly passing fur bans, might feathers be next?  Just consider California's recent slate of legislation and court cases banning new animal fur, alligator and crocodile products, and cosmetic testing on animals

“[O]strich feathers — the most commonly used feather in fashion … — [are] prized by the fashion industry because of their lush, luxurious feathers and versatility in that they can be dyed any color.” (Michelle Honig, Fashionista) Unlike many other birds, however, ostriches don’t molt, which means that the feathers must be plucked from a live bird or removed post-mortem.  Whereas certifications are available for the responsible use of down, no such accepted standards exist for ostrich and other exotic feathers.

Mirroring the fur-free commitments of recent years, BOF reports that several brands have already announced plans to cease use of decorative feathers (as well as the use of down), and Melbourne Fashion Week (among others) confirmed that it will be “wild-feather free” beginning in 2024, with an exception for indigenous designs.  

As always, authentic advertising and labeling by brands is essential. A recent study by the World Animal Protection and Collective Fashion Justice revealed numerous instances in which genuine feathers were erroneously labeled by brands as “faux feathers.”  In addition to state regulation in this area, the FTC Act requires that advertising claims about feather and down products must be truthful, non-deceptive, and substantiated.  

Retailers and brands may want to anticipate potential regulatory and compliance demands by improving quality control in their supply chains and embracing the trends through use of faux feathers.  Conscious consumers may be more inclined to buy apparel and accessories that feature fake feathers outright, feeling good about their value-based purchases while still…staying fly.

as fur has fallen from fashion, the trend for feathers has grown, showing up on runways and red carpets


luxury, fashion, sustainability, luxury brands, retail & consumer brands, advertising marketing & promotions