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PETA protest for wool ban from Forever 21

Whether it’s leather, cashmere, fur or wool, animal-derived fashion garments are enraging animal rights groups more and more in recent years.


Forever 21 recently took a hit from animal welfare group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) over the notorious retailer’s selling of wool and fur products, according to PETA. PETA’s campaign hopes to put an end to Forever 21’s support of the wool industry.


Animal rights protesters stand outside Forever 21 in Denver, Colorado PETA banner shaming wool industry

“Anyone that goes into a clothing store can look on the label and see what materials are being used,” PETA strategist Bryn Smernoff said. “It can really make a difference when larger companies make changes in the right direction.”


This isn’t the first time a popular retailer has angered activist groups for using animal-derived products in their garments, according to Smernoff. H&M decided to drop cashmere from their product line in response to one of PETA’s campaigns late last spring.


“So the way we generally work with a campaign like this is that there are usually a hundred different steps that have happened before we would ever launch a campaign,” Smernoff said. “It’s not like we saw labels in Forever 21 that said ‘wool’ and decided to immediately launch such a full blown campaign against the company.”


PETA’s process of introducing its new campaign involved meeting with Forever 21 to discuss alternate materials and products in an attempt to come up with a solution.


The campaign initially began last year, and PETA’s efforts to ban wool have made no impact on Forever 21. The company has no intent to remove it from their product line, according to Smernoff.


Campaigns to ban wool often result in animal-derived products being replaced by synthetic materials. Fabrics like faux fur, leather and wool are made of polyester, according to the Huffington Post.


Despite the outrage from animal rights groups like PETA, some people still choose to support Forever 21.


“I’d rather Forever 21 continue to use real wool that’s already being produced than harm the planet even more,” frequent Forever 21 shopper Shelby Larson said. “Big corporations like this have big impacts on the environment. If Forever 21 starts using synthetic wool, the planet is in big trouble.”


Smernoff said that PETA’s main goal is to have Forever 21 and similar stores like H&M and Zara halt their participation and support of not only wool, but all animal-derived materials.


“We’d like to see consumers really be conscious about the products that they’re purchasing and understand where these materials are coming from,” Smernoff said.


Forever 21 customers are now offered a choice between ethicality and sustainability. PETA’s efforts are an attempt to persuade consumers to choose ethicality.


“We have released some investigation footage and testimonies to the public in order to inspire people to choose cruelty-free options,” Smernoff said.


While the popular retail company does not plan to get rid of wool in the near future, PETA will continue to fight against the use of animal-derived products.


By Sofia Jas, Elvanice Previlma

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