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The Wall Street Journal

Fashion Labels Scramble to Shed Their Skins

Vicki von Holzhausen, a former auto-industry designer, has created a line of handbags that uses a high-tech textile derived from fabric used in the interiors of luxury cars.

Luxury fashion houses that have long relied on fur and animal skins to drive sales are shaking up their hidebound supply chains.

Two of the world’s flashiest labels—Versace and Gucci—swore off fur this year, joining a furless pack that already includes Armani, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and Hugo Boss.

Activists who for years have thrown paint on celebrities’ fur coats and protested next to the catwalks are setting their sights on skins made from crocodile, alligator, snake and ostrich. The pressure has contributed to a scramble by luxury brands to impose animal-welfare standards on their exotic-skin suppliers.

A few fashion houses are funding tech companies working to grow leather in laboratories. And companies that once viewed animal-rights groups as a nuisance are now consulting with them about their policies to limit cruel treatment.

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