NEW YORK, United States — Alexi Lubomirski, the fashion photographer who famously shot Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding pictures, has launched a campaign calling on his peers to affect positive change within the fashion industry.
His first call to action: stop working with fur, feathers and exotic skins.
“We’re so lucky to work in this industry, but there are so many things about this industry that we have fallen a bit short on, whether it’s to do with objectification of women, the diversity issue, animal cruelty,” he told BoF. “In the last 12 months, so many conversations have been put on the table… there’s this amazing movement going on now, and the ground is fertile for real change.”
Lubomirski has spent the past few months petitioning photographers, designers, hair and makeup artists, actors, stylists and magazine editors, asking these influential creatives to sign a pledge banning fur, feathers and exotic skins from their work and to be vocal about their commitment on social media. The pledge is the first initiative for the Creatives4Change campaign, he said. (The Creatives4Change manifesto is published on the photographer’s own website.)
Photographers Inez and Vinoodh, American Vogue contributing editor Tonne Goodman and designer Diane von Furstenberg are among those that have already signed on. Instyle Magazine has also committed to the ban.
“If you’re a huge photographer at the top of your game, or a huge designer, you have followers and fans — not only of your work, but also of you the person. Everybody has a social platform now,” said Lubomirski. “You have the power to influence a whole generation of young creatives coming up, who look at you as heroes and they want to be just like you.”
The campaign launch comes hot on the heels of a proposal last month to ban the sale of fur apparel in New York, the largest market for fur in the US. San Francisco and Los Angeles have already passed similar bans, coming into effect this year and in 2021, respectively.
Major luxury brands and retailers have also been turning their backs on animal skins in large numbers. Over the past two years, Gucci, Burberry, Michael Kors, Versace, DvF and Yoox Net-a-Porter were among those that announced fur bans. In December Chanel announced it would ban exotic skins, with Selfridges and Victoria Beckham swiftly following suit.
Despite this, fur sales in the US have been rising for the past decade, hitting $531 million last year, the highest level in 17 years, the Wall Street Journal reported.
It’s about inspiring potentially millions of the next generation of creatives.
The $40 billion global fur industry has been fighting fashion’s anti-fur movement with its own campaign, which makes the case for fur as a natural, sustainable product that is better for the environment than alternatives, which are often made from plastic.
Lubomirski himself is vegan and hasn’t photographed fur for many years. He stopped shooting feathers and exotic skins last year.
“It’s not just about getting the top 1 percent of the industry to stop [using fur, feathers and exotic skins in their work],” he said. “It’s about inspiring potentially millions of the next generation of creatives to … start off thinking in the right way about how this industry should be.”