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Norway Goes Fur Free for Fashion Week

Animal protection group persuades city to ban fur from runway

Top fashion houses are on notice: If your models are wearing animal fur, they won’t even be allowed on the runway. That’s the word from Oslo, Norway, which hosts Oslo Fashion Week next month.

The home of the Nobel Peace Prize is making fashion week ethical by banning fur from the catwalk at Oslo Fashion Week. It’s a first for any city hosting a global fashion week.

The decision was sparked by a massive candlelight vigil in November, which was organized by the Norwegian animal rights group NOAH, in concert with fur-free designer Fam Irvoll. NOAH also collected signatures from more than 200 designers, models and photographers.

Not that the organizers of Oslo Fashion Week needed much persuading. “It has been a very natural choice for us,” said Paul Vasbotten, general manager of the event. “We are doing this in order to increase ethical values in fashion.”

Norwegians were shocked last year by graphic images of sick and injured animals in the cages of fur farms, which were shown on television. Many politicians joined the protests that followed, demanded that the fur farms be shut down.

Instead, the government is requiring these businesses to improve conditions for animals by mid-2011.