Ascena Retail Group has announced that it will no longer sell products made with alpaca wool, following the Winter 2020/2021 season. The company, which owns brands Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant and others, said that it will eliminate the fabric from all product lines at all stores.
This decision comes after PETA released undercover footage of animal abuse in a Peruvian alpaca farm. The organization's investigation has already convinced brands including Valentino, Uniqlo and Marks and Spencer to cease their use of alpaca fur.
The decision is particularly bizarre because Ann Taylor will apparently continue to sell cashmere wool, which is harvested in a similar fashion to angora wool, through shearing. Moreover, failing to trim wool from alpacas can lead to heat stress in the animals.
In a blog post, PETA said that Ascena's decision is a "huge victory" and "will prevent many alpacas from being roughly shorn."
On the other hand, the Natural Fibers Alliance has spoken out against Ascena banning alpaca fur. In an email to FashionUnited, the Alliance said that it believes ceasing the use of natural alpaca fur "will harm fashion sustainability," as synthetic materials may be used in place of alpaca fur.
“PETA is against leather, wool, silk—and even eating meat and owning a pet. Shame on Ann Taylor for siding against consumers and with animal liberation extremists," said Mike Brown, head of public affairs and sustainability at the Natural Fibers Alliance.