All eyes were on Billie Eilish last night, as the singer walked up the red carpet to serve as co-chair of the Met Gala. The star-studded event has been one of the most-hyped celebrity affairs of the reopening era, and millions tuned into a live stream of arrivals. Eilish, an outspoken vegan and animal rights advocate, used the visible moment to do some good, convincing her gown designer, Oscar de la Renta, to commit to ending sales of animal fur.
“I am beyond thrilled that [Fernando Garcia] and [Laura Kim] and the entire team heard me on this issue, and have now made a change that makes an impact for the greater good, not only for animals but also for our planet and environment too, ” Eilish wrote in an Instagram post announcing the new policy. “I’m honored to have been a catalyst and to have been heard on this matter. I urge all designers to do the same.”
According to The New York Times, Eilish’s ask that Oscar de la Renta stop selling fur in exchange for her sporting their work on fashion’s biggest night makes her “perhaps the only Met Gala guest in history to elicit an ethical policy change from a company as a condition of wearing its gown.”
In recent years, co-creative directors Garcia and Kim had not sent fur down the runway in their fashion collections and “didn’t find fur chic, modern, or relevant,” the Times notes. However, the brand did continue to sell fur products as part of its line. CEO Alex Bolen said that those fur items provided a “meaningful amount of sales and profit” for the company, and pressed on with their production over the objections of his creative directors, his own wife, and even Annette de la Renta, the widow of Oscar himself. But it was Eilish who was finally able to change his mind.
“I thought a lot about what Oscar said — he was a big fan of fur, by the way — that the one thing he really worried about in the fashion business was his eye getting old,” Bolen told the Times. When the 19-year-old superstar with a massive global following announced she only works with fur-free brands, he acknowledged that times had changed.