Copenhagen introduces ban on exotic skins at Fashion Week

Just two years after it prohibited animal fur, Copenhagen has announced exotic animal skins and feathers will also be banned from its fashion week runways.

Thred Media
3 min readApr 12, 2024


Shows full of animal feathers and skins at fashion week? Groundbreaking.

That’s the stance organisers of Copenhagen Fashion Week have taken as of late, announcing a ban on collections featuring exotic skins and feathers that will begin next year.

This move has cemented Copenhagen as a leader in ethical fashion, raising the bar to a higher standard for the industry. The decision follows a complete ban on fur and aligns with a broader trend in the fashion world towards cruelty-free practices.

Brands like Chanel and Burberry — and other fashion events in Stockholm, Helsinki, and Melbourne — have already made similar moves, banning fur from their collections. But the use of alligator skins, python heels, and ostrich feathers still hasn’t carried the same stigma that fur does.

The truth behind exotic skin products

Animal rights groups have long campaigned against the use of exotic skins, shedding light on the gruesome practices involved in their production.

To keep as much of their unique hides intact as possible, snakes are inflated with air or water while alive, lizards are brutally decapitated, and crocodiles are subjected to inhumane slaughter methods using mallets and hammers.

Despite these realities, there continues to be a disconnect between consumers and the realities of fashion’s impact on reptiles. Collaborations with animal rights organisations such as PETA and World Animal Protection have been crucial in building awareness and driving recent change.

Bringing change to centre stage

By educating brands and consumers alike, Copenhagen Fashion Week aims to improve the ethics of the fashion industry.

In addition to the ban on animal materials, the event has implemented strict eco-requirements for participating brands, including sourcing responsibly, designing for repairability and recyclability, and incorporation of sustainable materials.

It has urged designers to make ‘smart material choices’ and requires that a minimum of 50 percent of their collection is ‘certified, made of preferred materials or new generation sustainable materials, upcycled, recycled or made of deadstock’.

As the fashion world comes under increasing scrutiny for the environmental and ethical implications of its practices, Copenhagen’s leadership sets a precedent for others to follow.

By avoiding single-use plastics and wasteful goodie bags, as well as showcasing fabric alternatives like plant-derived leather and recycled materials, the event is paving the way for a more compassionate and sustainable future.

As other fashion weeks and brands take note of Copenhagen’s example, collective action will be needed if the industry is to move towards a more responsible approach to clothing production.

Copenhagen Fashion Week’s ban on exotic skins and feathers is not just a milestone — it signals to the entire fashion community that it is time to embrace sustainability without allowing harmful practices to lurk in the industry’s corners.

Originally written by Jessica Byrne for Thred.