Ostrich in the wild

Melbourne Fashion Week goes feather free in world first


This week, we celebrated alongside Melbourne Fashion Week to announce their new policy to ban wild bird feathers such as ostrich feathers and peacock feathers on its runway from 2024.

Melbourne Fashion Week has been fur and wild animal skin free since 2018 and is now the first in the world to ditch all three of the controversial wildlife-sourced materials.

Thanks to your support, this announcement comes as our latest report with Collective Fashion Justice, ‘Feathers are the New Fur – Cruelty in Disguise’, highlighted animal cruelty in the feather industry as well as sounded an alarm over the concerning and widespread mislabelling practices within the fashion industry.

Suzanne Milthorpe, Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection, said:

Feathers often find their way into fashion through extremely cruel practices which undermine the most basic principles of animal welfare. With this new policy, Melbourne is setting the stage for a future where fashion and ethics go hand in hand, cementing a global standard for the industry which truly aligns with public expectations. We hope to see more brands and fashion week organisers follow Melbourne’s lead and embrace innovation over exploitation by keeping wildlife materials out of their collections.

The report also moved major fashion retailers ASOS to strengthen their material testing policies to ensure their wildlife policy is better adhered to and THE ICONIC to put a decorative feather ban in place that will be implemented from 2024.

Milthorpe further added:

Our polling has repeatedly shown that the use of wild animals in fashion is becoming unacceptable in the eyes of the consumer. This makes the mislabelling by big fashion brands a blatant breach of consumer trust, many of whom may be trying to shop cruelty-free.

Each year, tens of thousands of wild birds such as ostriches, peacocks and pheasants are exploited and brutally slaughtered for the profits of fashion brands that have not progressed to humane and innovative alternatives.

Emma Hakansson, Founding Director of Collective Fashion Justice said:

Fashion’s ongoing use of feathers is built on a ‘we’ve always done it this way’ notion that deems animal exploitation and planetary harm acceptable. In an interwoven environmental and ethical crisis, it’s time to move beyond that. Fashion is about creativity and innovation, and designers utilising next-generation plant-based, 3D printed, bio-based and recycled materials in place of feathers are leading us to the future of fashion we need. M/FW’s decision allows the industry to become more creative, and less reliant on outdated systems: that’s exciting and commendable.

Baby ostrichesCredit: Peta

It’s time to put an end to animal cruelty in the fashion industry and move towards humane, next-generation plant-based, 3D printed, bio-based and recycled materials that are readily available today.

Together, we can move more fashion weeks and brands to choose compassion and create a wildlife-free future of fashion.


Feathers are the new fur

Read our 'Feathers are the New Fur' report and learn how wild birds suffer for the fashion industry.

Crocodile used for fashion

Stop crocodile slaughter

Call on the Minister for Environment and Water, The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, to do the right thing for Australian crocodile welfare.

Fox at a fur farm

Wildlife free fashion

Right now, millions of wild animals are being captured, abused, bred, and mercilessly slaughtered so that the fashion industry can maximise their profit.

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