For a city known to be fashion-forward, West Hollywood is doing little to further its reputation. In fact, its city council members are looking to create a new reputation for the trendy, celebrity-dotted area neighboring Beverly Hills.
In what council members say they hope sets a national trend, West Hollywood passed an ordinance Tuesday that forbids the sale of fur exempting leather and fur used in furniture, the New York Times reports.
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“This is a tiny city, so it’s mostly symbolic,” John D’Amico, a councilman and the sponsor for the ban said. “I think the impact will be heard from here to Fifth Avenue. People will talk about what a fur ban means in a new way.”
This is not the first time West Hollywood’s city council has used legislation to illuminate social issues. The sale of dogs and cats in pet stores, sale of inexpensive handguns, and cat declawing are some of the peculiar bans the council has previously implemented.
In 1996 when the city prohibited the sale of the handguns also know as Saturday Night Specials, the trend caught on in neighboring areas, eventually leading to a statewide crackdown. D’Amico told the Times he’s hoping for a similar outcome.
While animal rights activists proclaim the ordinance a victory, West Hollywood retailers are anything but thrilled. “It would absolutely diminish the city as a fashion capital,” Genevieve Morrill, president of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce said of the ban.
According to a study by the Fur Information Council of America, 45% of fashion retailers located in West Hollywood sold fur.
“People are still buying fur. If people were not buying it, stores wouldn’t want to sell it. So the animal rights lobby is trying to force through a ban on a legal product,” Keith Kaplan, executive director of the Fur Information Council of America said.
But city council members are not convinced. D’Amico said the city is still awaiting a financial impact study before the council takes a final vote in October.