Friday, September 23, 2011

FICA on West Hollywood fur ban

The Facts


In a complete mockery of the legislative process, the West Hollywood City Council voted 5 - 0 to move to a second reading of the ordinance to ban the sale of fur apparel in the City of West Hollywood. It is important to note that no actual ordinance has yet been passed.

The city moved without any vetting of retailers and without review of an independent economic impact study that showed 46% of the apparel retailers – which translates to over 90 stores in West Hollywood who sell fur.

We have built an exceptionally strong coalition of retailers that have been fighting this battle. Included in this coalition are the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and The Avenues, the group representing the four biggest business development districts in town. For the first time in history, these two groups unanimously opposed an ordinance presented by the City Council and, even after Monday’s meeting, they are continuing in their opposition to support our efforts.

What’s Next?

Yesterday our Executive Director, Keith Kaplan, did 16 media interviews (see some of the links attached) and by-in-large the coverage has ranged from neutral to overwhelmingly in our favor. A KTLA poll this morning indicated that 61% of respondents were opposed to the actions of the City Council. Even among social media sites such as Twitter and TMZ, largely utilized by the young and socially conscious, are trending in our favor.

Our legal team at Kelley Drye and their litigation team in Los Angeles are hard at work identifying legal challenges to the ban and we are liaising with attorneys for key retailers and designers. Several of these well known names, including Balenciaga and Alberta Ferretti, have already notified their landlords that they intend to terminate their leases and move out of the city and their legal teams have called on us to band together.

Our Ongoing Voice

The FICA office is moving forward with daily press releases and media stories on this issue and continues to work with a number of high-profile media outlets, updating them regularly. A story will be posted on www.furinsider.com later today titled “RIP: West Hollywood” that will include quotes from high-profile stylists, retailers and other prominent members of the community. We are working with the Chamber to barrage the City Council members with updates of the articles and polls indicating the strong trend of public sentiment against this ordinance. We are also in the process of setting up a facebook page, West Hollywood R.I.P, to provide an easily accessible outlet for the City Hall staffers and the City Council members to see the latest news on the issue.

We cannot make any promises about what the City Council will finally decide on this issue, but we are continuing to fight vigorously. As an adjunct, we are using the issue effectively as a media platform to promote positive fur messages.

Call to Action

We encourage you to send your comments to ccouncil@weho.org . As animal rights extremists across the country are writing in, we should do the same…no matter where you live. Some of the vital facts to highlight would be:

 Talk about our industry’s humane and responsible treatment of animals.

 Note that we use no endangered species and we work closely with wildlife management agencies to manage populations of species used in the fur trade.

 Tell them that every species used by the trade is an abundant, or more abundant than populations of a century ago.

 Talk to them about the furriers respect for and support of their communities; their support of charitable endeavors.

 Remind them that the cash register truly tells us what the consumer wants, and the news is that consumers want fur.

 Finally, tell them that your customer, who is affluent and travels, is upset about this ordinance and has been telling you they will avoid West Hollywood in their travels.

Feel free to contact our office with any questions by reaching out to Nicole@fur.org. Our most recent press release, along with links to some of the ongoing press coverage, is attached.


Thank you for your support.
Your FICA Team


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