Ostrich Feathers Are Out at Melbourne Fashion Week

Posted on by Dan H

Melbourne Fashion Week has extended its runway policy to be kinder to even more species of animals! In addition to being fur-free and banning angora wool as well as the skins of exotic animals, the spring fashion celebration will now exclude collections that feature the feathers of wild birds from the catwalk.

Announced alongside Collective Fashion Justice’s and World Animal Protection’s fashion week exhibition on wildlife-free fashion, the policy update will take effect in 2024 and include feathers from wild birds captured from their natural habitat as well as those confined to feedlots, like ostriches, peacocks, emus, and others.

Previously called “Melbourne Spring Fashion Week”, the event first pulled all fur garments from its show after a PETA supporter stormed the catwalk in 2011. Since then, its policies on animal-derived materials have set the standard for other festivals to follow. Now, Melbourne Fashion Week is leading the way again and is set to be the first fashion week event with a ban on feathers from wild birds.

The Cruel Truth Behind Feather Accessories

PETA entities have been urging fashion week events around the world to drop feathers by exposing the plight of birds whose feathers are torn out for fashion garments and accessories.

Ostriches – whose plumes are the most commonly used for decoration in fashion – don’t moult, so their feathers are either ripped out while they’re still alive or removed after slaughter. South Africa is the ostrich-feather export capital of the world, where PETA’s eyewitness exposé showed that workers forcibly restrain young ostriches, electrically stun them, and then cut their throats. Moments later, the feathers are torn from the birds’ still-warm bodies before they’re skinned and dismembered. Other birds exploited and killed for their feathers include peacocks, emus, and pheasants. Many of them endure a life of misery on factory farms, confined to spaces so small and crowded that they’re forced to stand in their own waste, before being hauled to an abattoir.

Other bird species are also exploited and killed for their feathers, and we’ll be urging Melbourne Fashion Week to extend its policy to include all feathers. Chickens, turkeys, geese, and ducks endure lives of misery on factory farms, confined to spaces so small and crowded that they’re forced to stand in their own waste before being hauled to an abattoir.

On farms overseas, ducks and geese used for down feathers often endure live-plucking, during which feathers are torn from their bodies while they’re still conscious, resulting in open wounds and broken wings. Birds in breeding flocks and those raised for meat and foie gras may be forced to endure the trauma of plucking every six weeks before eventually being killed.

A pile of chicken feathers outside a rendering plant in South Australia.Photo: Animal Liberation

A pile of chicken feathers outside a rendering plant in South Australia.

Make Your Wardrobe Bird-Friendly

The only way to ensure that no birds suffered for your clothing or accessories is to choose only vegan materials. So always check the label when you’re shopping.

Help Birds and Other Animals Abused for Fashion

Urge these brands and designers to drop animal skins, fur, wool, and feathers and instead make a fashion statement the kind way, with fabulous vegan textiles.