After viewing a PETA exposé revealing that crying alpacas are roughly shorn and left cut up and bleeding from deep wounds, luxury fashion brand Valentino has confirmed it will “discontinue the production of garments in which [alpaca] is present by the end of 2021”.
An undercover investigation into Mallkini – the world’s largest privately owned alpaca farm in Peru – shows that workers held struggling, crying alpacas by the ears as they were roughly shorn with electric clippers, causing some to vomit out of fear. The quick, rough shearing left the animals with deep wounds, which were sewn up without adequate pain relief. Marks & Spencer – which has more than 1,400 stores across 57 countries – said the investigation highlighted “concerns around the welfare of animals that are farmed to produce alpaca [wool]” and made the compassionate decision to phase out the fibre’s limited use in its collections.
“Valentino’s savvy and compassionate choice will prevent many alpacas from being tortured for fashion,” says PETA spokesperson Emily Rice. “We urge all designers to protect these vulnerable animals by following in the brand’s footsteps and refusing to sell products that are the result of cruelty and call on all consumers to choose vegan fabrics.”
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – notes that in addition to causing gentle alpacas immense suffering, the production of alpaca wool is also terrible for the planet. The Higg Materials Sustainability Index ranked alpaca wool as the second most environmentally damaging material after silk, noting that it’s six times as harmful as polyester and more than four times as damaging as modal, viscose, rayon, lyocell, acrylic, and other vegan materials.
Valentino is the first luxury brand to ban alpaca wool and joins UNIQLO – the third-largest clothing retailer in the world – Esprit, Marks & Spencer, and New Zealand’s largest department store, Smith & Caughey’s, in banning the material. Gap Inc (which owns Banana Republic, Athleta, and other brands) and H&M Group (which owns eight brands) have cut ties with Mallkini’s parent company, the Michell Group.