The general response was that all their leather and fur was sourced ethically and from trusted suppliers, who followed all the guidelines and that the importer met all Italian regulations and laws. Another pattern of comments was that the products were made from the by-product of the meat industry, as locals eat the meat (do you know someone who eats mink??). We were served by people who when asked the very simplest question about ‘regulations’ clearly didn’t know anything, despite responding as if they did, believing the customer knew even less. It was interesting to note how often the ‘charming, male manager’ was called over to reassure the ‘naïve female consumer’. This was just a few hours of empirical testing but, given it was in one of the world’s luxury shopping capitals it served to show how much needs to be done to challenge the trade to show a greater commitment to regulation and transparency.
As we work to push industry to implement genuine supply chain traceability for endangered species, we will try to harness the resurgence of the SHEconomy (an issue we will be discussing in the future as a way to ensure true power for female consumes) but not in the way that is currently discussed by retail, which may be better expressed as the sheCONomy.
While there are huge profits to be made from using animal body parts and effectively no regulation, there is too much incentive for industry to invest in ensuring consumers stay naïve and/or desensitised to the plight of animals in the highly lucrative trade of species that are wild or undomesticated (such as python, crocodile, mink, manta ray, marabou stork, fox etc).