Fashion experts share view on Harvey Nichols‘ controversial decision to stock real fur

Fashion experts claim Harvey Nichols‘ controversial decision to stock real fur is designed to appeal to foreign buyers who ‘don‘t care as much as animal-loving Britain‘

Fashion experts have shared their view on Harvey Nichols‘ controversial decision to stock real fur, with one claiming foreign buyers have had a huge influence on the decision. 

The luxury British department store has been the target of huge national anti-fur campaign for many years – after dropping their fur ban in 2014 – and social commentator Peter York, 75, from , thinks the choice was made was to serve a larger foreign market.

Appearing on Channel 5‘s ‘Inside Harvey Nichols‘, he argued that following the change of the consumer landscape, the store was forced to appeal to foreign buyers, who ‘don‘t care as much‘ as ‘animal loving England‘.   

He said: ‘Knightsbridge is now full of very substantial, very bling, foreign money. 

‘A lot of Russians, rich people from certain bits of Asia and certain rich middle Easterners, it‘s a real change.  

‘Quite a lot of the world doesn‘t really care about fur to the degree that animal-loving England care about fur. 

‘You‘re upsetting people locally, but you‘re giving a completely unworrying come-on to some of your overseas shoppers.‘ 

In 2018,  The British Fashion Council brought in a ban of all fur on the runway following a survey of all the designers taking part. 

The decision was said to be made to ‘reflect a cultural change based on ideals and choices‘ by designers, big brands and consumers.

Harvey Nichols states that they only ever source ethically sourced animal products that adhere to strict animal welfare standards.  

Among the experts who shed light on the subject was brand expert Marcel Knobil, who felt that fashion could ‘take precedent over ethics‘ for a number of those who follow the industry. 

He said: ‘They might not be wrong in believing that fashion takes precedent over ethics, for quite a number of fashion followers.‘ 

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He continued: ‘An ever lasting challenge in the fashion world is to be fashionable. 

‘And to be strong enough in your fashion knowledge, vision expertise and instinctiveness, to carry the right brands at the right times.‘ 

But another expert was PR guru Lynne Franks, 71, who insisted she was ‘amazed‘ the retailer still stocked real animal fur, and felt the choice will ‘alienate‘ a lot of the stores potential customers. 

She said: ‘I‘m amazed to hear that they‘ve changed their ban on fur. 

‘Consumer trends are going to go more into natural clothes, natural fibers, as people become more aware of what‘s going on in the world. 

‘That trend is going to increase and that includes money to spend.  

Lynne inspired iconic sitcom character Edina Monsoon, made famous by Jennifer Saunders (middle)  in ‘Absolutely Fabulous‘

‘I think Harvey Nichols will actually alienate a lot of their potential customers by selling fur. It‘s not the way the market is going, it‘s not the way the trends are going.‘  

Lynne was the woman who inspired iconic sitcom character Edina Monsoon, made famous by Jennifer Saunders ‘Absolutely Fabulous‘ – who starred as A PR alongside Joanna Lumley‘s Patsy Stone. 

Some of the sitcom‘s most iconic scenes referenced the luxury retailer, including the very first episode where the pair choose to be late for work in lieu of a shopping spree, and the moment Edina‘s car gets clamped outside of the store. 

Lynne spoke of the store‘s link with the sitcom, which was revealed in the series to be the result of a deal struck with Mary Portas, insisting Harvey Nichols is the perfect match for the iconic pair. 

She said: ‘The characters in Ab fab were out there supposedly the cutting edge. 

‘I think it was a natural match for Harvey Nichols to be the store of choice for Edina and Patsy.‘ 

 Inside Harvey Nichols is on Channel 5, tonight at 9pm. 


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