An animal rights group is urging Gucci to end production of its popular fur-lined loafers.
The Italian fashion brand first unveiled kangaroo fur-lined footwear at a menswear runway show last year (15), and launched the female equivalent as part of their 2015 Fall/Winter new season look.
Many celebrity fans have been quick to snap up the shoes, with the likes of Kendall Jenner, Alexa Chung, and Sienna Miller all spotted wearing the footwear, as well as British actor Tom Hiddleston who wore the shoes in a recent advertising campaign for the brand.
In response to the increasing popularity of the footwear, the Australian branch of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is calling for people to shun the trend - describing Gucci’s use of kangaroo as “revolting”.
“It’s time that Gucci and its customers had the same change of conscience,” PETA said. “As Australians, we need to send a clear message to the rest of the world that we value the animal on our coat of arms and condemn companies such as Gucci’s, which choose to kill majestic kangaroos for the sake of a fashion fad.”
Dr. Daniel Ramp of the Centre for Compassionate Conservation at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia supported PETA’s claim, and said that using kangaroo fur to produce fashion footwear is exploitation, especially since populations of the marsupial are in decline.
“The killing of these animals is inhumane,” he said. “There is collateral damage, and kangaroo culling has a large social cost on the remaining families and their young. Kangaroos are not objects - they are highly intelligent social animals.”
Previously, Gucci’s parent company, Kering, has defended its use of kangaroo in various products.
“Kangaroo harvest is one of the best examples of a well-managed harvest program, and thus can be classified under our guidelines as a sustainable fur,” a spokesperson told Quartz.com.
Gucci does disclose the use of kangaroo fur in its men’s and women’s loafers on its website. It also says that the shoes cannot be shipped to California, a state that has imposed a ban on the import of kangaroo products since 2015.
The company has yet to comment on PETA’s latest campaign.