Cruelty is out of fashion at Melbourne Fashion Week

October 17, 2022

Ethical fashion celebrated at special showcase as part of the show’s 2022 program.

The event saw Melbourne fashion lovers, designers, models and influencers come together to celebrate a kinder future of fashion.

Celebrating wildlife-friendly fashion

“We were thrilled to have been invited by M/FW organisers to be part of this year’s independent program to showcase what we see as the future of fashion – ethical, and wildlife-free,” said Suzanne Milthorpe, Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection, which co-hosted the event together with Collective Fashion Justice.

Earlier this year, the two nonprofit organisations released a groundbreaking industry report, Cruelty is Out of Fashion, exploring the industry’s use of wild animal species and highlighting who is leading the way towards kinder, more sustainable and innovative alternatives.

Following consultation with the two campaign groups, Melbourne Fashion Week extended its policy to ensure that the show’s runways are not only free from fur but all wild animal skins, whether wild captured or farmed.

In a world where consumers are increasingly seeking out brands that do not profit from animal cruelty, the move by Melbourne Fashion Week is an encouraging sign that the industry is responding to community expectations.

Compassion on display

The event featured the work of trailblazing Australian labels whose cruelty-free and sustainable practices are at the forefront of the ethical fashion movement globally, including Melbourne labels SANS BEAST, Unreal Fur, Nōskin, Zette, and Life on Mars.

Special guests attend the ethical fashion showcase hosted by World Animal Protection and Collective Fashion Justice during Melbourne Fashion Week 2022, including Andy Meddick MP and Georgie Purcell of the Animal Justice Party, and Collective Fashion Justice founding director Emma Håkansson • Image by World Animal Protection.

“Such a diverse range of models, designers, stylists, influencers and fashion lovers joined us to celebrate wildlife-friendly fashion,” said Emma Håkansson, founding director of Collective Fashion Justice.

“As the global industry begins to shift beyond not only fur, but exotic skins and feathers too, Melbourne Fashion Week is taking the lead, with a more progressive policy than most others around the globe,” Emma added. “We look forward to this progress only continuing.”

Speaking to Emma in a live on-camera interview at the event, Nōskin director Tony Coralles shared his appreciation for Melbourne Fashion Week’s stand against the use of fur and skins from wild animals, and his hopes that this will ultimately be extended to protect all animals and birds from having their fur, skin or feathers used in fashion.

Emma Håkansson speaks with Nōskin director Tony Coralles about the importance of Melbourne Fashion Week’s new policy and how he hopes the fashion industry will continue to evolve.

Towards a ‘total ethics’ fashion future

Market research tells us that ethics matter to consumers – and this includes an expanding awareness of how our choices impact people, planet, and animals alike.

In a global survey commissioned by Facebook IQ for its 2022 Trends Report, 69 percent of respondents said brands should care about the environment and offer sustainable products and services. And, with social media conversations about sustainable fashion rising by 147 percent in just one year, this clearly includes concerns about the practices behind the clothes and accessories that we wear.

When it comes to the use of wild animals in fashion, a decisive majority of us need no further convincing. In recent polling by World Animal Protection, 72 percent of Australians said they would not buy products made from wild animal skins, fur or feathers.

Alongside this, there is a growing awareness of the harms caused by other animal-derived materials, including mass-produced cow leather, angora, cashmere, and wool, and corresponding demand for alternatives that value the life and wellbeing of all sentient beings.

It is this ‘total ethics’ vision that drives the work of Collective Fashion Justice, which advocates for positive progress in fashion at the consumer, industry and political levels. Among their numerous impactful campaigns and collaborations is the recently released feature documentary SLAY which explores the interwoven harms caused by fashion’s use of fur, leather and wool.


The appetite for change is undeniable, and there is an abundance of sustainable and humanely-produced fabrics already being used by creators around the world. The strengthening of animal protection policies by Melbourne Fashion Week and the inclusion of last week’s ethical showcase is an inspiring reflection of progress towards a kinder fashion future.


Lead image: Showcase of designers using innovative animal-free materials and techniques, including Unreal Fur, Sans Beast, Noskin, and Zette • Image by World Animal Protection.

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