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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Peacocks plucked alive to make Burberry's £22,000 trench?

Hindustantimes.com  New Delhi, March 14, 2013
First Published: 14:32 IST(14/3/2013) | Last Updated: 18:19 IST(14/3/2013)

It's an exquisite and eye-catching dress, no doubt but at what cost does Burberry's flagship item from its spring-summer collection come? The talking point of the international fashion world has come under the scanner for the controversial process by which it has been created.

Made of peacock feathers, and worn recently by American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, the iconic British fashion label’s most talked-about garment of the moment has reportedly been created by plucking live peacocks, reported Daily Mail.

According to the British daily, until recently, the official website which offered the coats for sale, said that the peacock feathers used to make the garment came from birds raised on farms in India. It stated: '100 per cent farmed golden peacock feathers, India.'

BurberryAccording to Burberry's official Indian website, the 'iridescent' beauty of the coat comes from the plumage of India's national bird.

Official description on the website:
An artisanal trench coat with iridescent peacock plumage rosettes, crafted using couture techniques. Each feather is hand placed and then stitched into an abstract geometric floral design. The coat is finished with a rich satin collar and heritage-influenced epaulettes, cuff straps and belt.

This, despite the fact that it is illegal to export peacock feathers from India. Interestingly, the dress itself is not available for purchase in India.

The daily spoke to animal rights activist and MP Maneka Gandhi, who was reportedly so concerned about the product that she called for an immediate investigation.

"Peacocks are killed in thousands in India and smuggled abroad to be made into fashion accessories,' Daily Mail quoted her as saying. "Regardless of how they are collected, it’s unethical to wear them as it encourages illegal trade," she added.

On being contacted, however, Burberry's public relations firm Brunswick clarified with a denial to Daily Mail. The clarification claimed that a mistake had been made and that the feathers had come from a farm in China and not India. From China these went to a dealer in New York, who in turn exported them to a seamstress in India, who sewed them onto fabric. At last, the coat was then exported to Italy, where it was finished by a company called Zamasport before ending up on the ramp in London.

In addition, Brunswick's spokesperson Tim Danaher told HT, "We can confirm that the peacock feathers used in the manufacture of this garment were sourced from China, not India. The garment was crafted in Italy using some fabric panels of Indian origin which included feathers sourced from China."

He added that Burberry would not use down or feathers if there was any concern about it being produced using unacceptable treatment of animals. Also, a very limited number of items have been made using peacock feathers - this is not mass production, nor is Burberry encouraging widespread use.

Apparently, it is understood that fewer than 20 coats have been made.

Interestingly, about the spectacular outfit, Burberry’s designer Christopher Bailey, insisted that his intention was to bring 'joy' through his work. ‘I wanted to make people smile. I wanted the collection to feel joyous. That’s how things are going to get better, by making people smile," Daily Mail quoted him as saying.

Well, we're not sure what the fashion world thinks, but this outfit sure isn't likely to make people smile!

Burberry

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