Anita Dongre says no to wool after PETA Asia exposé found workers punch, kick sheep
The world over, fashion as an industry is taking an animal-friendly and cruelty-free approach. Since 2017, a large number of international luxury brands have joined the growing ranks of those rejecting fur and animalderived material in their collections.
In India, designer Anita Dongre has created a rock-solid reputation with her ethical, sustainable and animal-friendly brands Global Desi, Grassroots, AND, and Anita Dongre. Quite naturally, her designs have caught the attention of the who's who of style, from Kate Middleton to Queen Mathilde of Belgium and Canada's first lady Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.
In keeping with this ethical philosophy, Dongre recently announced the complete discontinuation of wool in all her collections, following People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia's exposé of the British wool industry where it was found that workers punch, stamp on, kick and lacerate the sheep, leaving the injured animals to die.
In an exclusive conversation with Lifestyle, Dongre explains, "Today commercially produced wool, unfortunately, does not guarantee a pain-free process for the sheep. Because it is produced on a mass scale, there are instances that PETA has found where the sheep are not treated well. Hence, until we are assured that the wool is ethically sourced, without causing pain to the animals, we refrain from using wool in our collections."
As a substitute, Dongre has been making use of recycled wool. This is manufactured by grinding old woollen clothes that are then re-spun into yarn.
When asked about the larger awakening within the fashion industry towards compassionate sourcing, she shares, "Brands across the world have now fuelled their love for animals to promote animal-friendly fashion. It was so refreshing to see New York Fashion Week go cruelty-free, London Fashion Week go fur-free this season, and Los Angeles banning sales of animal fur among the countless other fashion brands taking a stand against the use of animal products."
The future of fashion is definitely heartwarming, even while some try and hold on to old-fashioned notions of animal-derived products being supposed 'luxury'. But Dongre has taken a clear stand from the start.
She states, "For years now, animalcruelty has been a harsh reality of the fashion industry. Uncountable animals are killed every day for skin, wool and fur-only to be turned into a jacket or a coat to satisfy one's vanity. There is something so deeply disturbing about the entire notion."
She continues, "Fortunately, times are changing, with numerous fashion houses supporting sustainable and eco-friendly fashion in a big way. Being a strong advocate of sustainable fashion, I have always refrained from using fur or leather in any of my brands. At the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves whether we need to indulge in animal-cruelty for the sake of any product. The answer is a big no!"
The designer advises consumers to ask questions about the fabric and manufacturing process of the garments so that they can know their origin. Another simple way is to look for a cruelty-free and vegan logo on the label.