August 23 2014

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West Hollywood Upholds Ban on Fur


BalenciagaIf you live in West Hollywood, fur is not in your future. WWD reports that a federal court has upheld the ban of fur apparel, a ruling that was first enforced back in 2011. West Hollywood retailer Mayfair House challenged the ordinance as being unconstitutional, but chief judge George H. King of the United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed the claim. He reasoned that West Hollywood’s intent to “promote community awareness of animal welfare, foster the city’s goal to be a community that cares about animal welfare, and further the city’s reputation as a cruelty-free zone for animals” by banning fur sales was a “legitimate interest.”

The ordinance could have severe implications for businesses. The Fur Information Council of America has estimated that more than half of the retailers in West Hollywood will lose sales as a result. The ban doesn’t just limit the sale of super-luxe coats—it includes any apparel item with fur fibers attached, like shearling and calfskin.

The ruling would have a little more clout if it applied to retailers across the board—not just clothing. As it stands, home design stores can still sell fur rugs, yet the Balenciaga boutique won’t be able to stock any of the fur sweatshirts from Fall ’14. However, it’s independent retailers that will really take the hit. They don’t have the luxury of stocking their fur pieces at additional locations around the world. Fur is a difficult—and emotional—subject. But whether you’re for or against it, it’s worth considering: In this economy, is stunting the growth of small businesses really the best move? We’ll soon find out.

Photo: Monica Feudi / Feudiguaineri 

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