Activists Start Summer With Blistering Heat for ODLR and YSL

The grassroots anti-fur movement has shown that it is a force to be reckoned with, and if the international week of action from July 5th to 11th was any indication, Oscar de la Renta and Saint Laurent are in for quite the reckoning.

Instead of spending the July 4 holiday relaxing with family, dedicated activists in eleven cities across the US (and Canada) used the long weekend to make signs, plot mayhem, and spread the word about the next big anti-fur campaigns.

The result was 21 hard-hitting actions in one week, an average of three per day, and two per city.

From Honolulu to New York, activists simply owned ODLR and YSL. Malls were invaded, stores were taken over, frenzied security guards were made fools of. And where there weren’t in-store disruptions, there were still dedicated activists demonstrating outside.

Most of this onslaught was directed at YSL. The energy was electric, the pressure tremendous, and the footage on our Facebook and Instagram pages speaks for itself.

Activists came out against ODLR and YSL with patriotic spirit to fight for the native wildlife that these fashion houses imprison and murder. In place of George Washington’s Continental Army drum corps, an army of protesters marched into ODLR’s Manhattan flagship pounding snare drums so hard that the walls shook. Instead of the rockets’ red glare, NYC delivered the red glare of fake blood and chalk outside of ODLR’s boutique. After NYC was done making a mockery out of ODLR they paid a visit to YSL – a target that they were the first to protest years ago.

Texas Animal Freedom Fighters activists staged a pioneering disruption of Houston’s Casa de Novia Bridal shop, one of ODLR’s small club of exclusive retail partners. We emphasize their creativity and bravery in going out on a limb, because against Oscar de la Renta, it is secondary targeting that will light the path to victory.

Chicago was the most active city for this week of action. They held four protests, ranging from in-store disruptions to educational events outside highlighting the cruelty of fur farms with impassioned speak-outs.

In Arizona, the Scottsdale Saint Laurent saw two event. One was hosted by Eradicate Speciesism with a focus on engaging public messaging. The other was a disruption where several activists were cited for trespassing – allegedly. CAFT will post updates on this matter as the case unfolds. Animal liberation will not be achieved by asking nicely, and we commend the dedication and sacrifices of the Scottsdale activists.

Let this week of action mark the beginning of a great transition. ODLR represents the end of an era, one of the last American holdouts stubbornly clinging to the bygone glory of fur. And YSL represents our first strike at the global epicenter of high fashion, the European legacy houses.

We at CAFT have immense gratitude to every city that worked so hard last week to set the tone against the new targets. The determination you all exemplified is exactly the kind of determination we need to win these campaigns. With focus and unity, victory is a foregone conclusion.

Cities that took action:

New York City, Toronto, Houston, Honolulu, San Diego, San Francisco, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Chicago, Scottsdale, and Los Angeles.

Activists Visit Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills

On April 24, Los Angeles activists added their voices to the campaign against the last American department store selling fur. Neiman Marcus sits less than two blocks from Saks Fifth Avenue, which had seen hard-hitting activism for months before announcing its intention to stop selling fur on April 7. Activists marched through Neiman demanding that they follow the example of their competitors. This event was conducted in coordination with a social media account called Operation Takedown, and involved visits to various designers and retailers in a shopping district. The visit to Neiman Marcus lasted approximately twenty minutes, but we are sure that as the campaign intensifies, Neiman will see the pressure ramp up in Southern California.

Texas Animal Freedom Fighters Take Over Neiman Marcus in Dallas

On April 24, Texas activists took the fight for animals on fur farms directly to the heart of the opposition – Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas, the company’s headquarters. Activists marched into the store to educate customers and employees regarding the plight of the animals whose skin Neiman sells as fabric. Making sure that Neiman feels the opposition in Dallas (also the founding city of the original Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade over two decades ago) is a vital part of the path to victory.

NYC Activists Go Big at Bergdorf Goodman

On April 24, activists from up and down the East Coast converged in New York City for a Fur Season Finale day of action. Neiman Marcus Group was the primary focus of this day of action, and the chosen site was Neiman’s high-end Bergdorf Goodman subsidiary located on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. With a huge turnout, activists took over the store doing speak-outs and chants, before deciding to bring their energy out onto the streets. We suspect this isn’t the last Bergdorf Goodman will be seeing from NYC activists, as long as Neiman Marcus Group continues to sell fur.

Seattle Activists Hit Saks

Submitted by Seattle activists:

After seeing so many incredible activists around the country protesting companies that continue to sell fur, we decided to protest Saks Off 5th in Seattle, Washington. 

The morning of the protest, February 11, it started snowing, but luckily that doesn’t stop Seattle shoppers! So we carpooled to Westlake Center to meet up with a few other activists and had a very quick meeting to go over the plan and what chants we wanted to shout. Four activists hid signs and a mega phone in our coats and walked ahead of the group to enter the mall. The other six activists protested outside. We took two escalators up to the third floor and entered Saks. We hit the alarm on the mega phone to get the customers and employees attention, and then began to speak about why we were there. This was followed by chants as we made three laps around the store then we were peacefully escorted out by six security guards.

After we exited the store, we were happy to see three more activists had showed up to protest outside. Thirteen of us held up signs in front of the mall and continued chanting. We also took this opportunity to hand out flyers and cards encouraging Seattle folks to support the fur ban in Washington. Two activists went back inside of Saks off 5th to leave flyers in the store and do outreach to the employees.

We also had about fourteen activists in total calling the Saks store number, and demanding that Paige Thomas cuts her ties with the fur trade. Most calls went to voicemail, a couple activists were hung up on before finishing the script that was provided for them. This was the first protest we’ve every organized, and we were fortunate to have three amazing activists from two different cities to get started and help find collective confidence in doing this. We are very happy with how the protest went and look forward to organizing more.

Los Angeles Kicks Off Week of Action Against Saks

Submitted by Animal Defense League Southern California:

Sunday, February 7, was the beginning of an international week of action against fur, and we knew the perfect way to kick it off: by returning to our friends at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.

We’ve been to this Saks location many times before informing the public about the horrors of the fur industry, and yet the employees at this location seem immune to the suffering of animals. In fact, they are so unashamed by the crimes they perpetrate against American wildlife that they hire guards and lock their doors to close themselves off from our message about the reality of their actions.

No worries – we will just have to keep coming back until they understand.

And that is exactly how we started off the week of action against fur here in Los Angeles. As per usual, our protest was a victory before it even started, because Saks locked their doors as we were crossing the street. We still decided not to leave them disappointed, and stayed outside of the store peacefully exercising our First Amendment rights for the better part of two hours.

Every time we visit Saks and they shut down in this manner, the entire building feels like such a lonely ghost town. Don’t worry, Saks – we’ll be back soon to keep you company.

New Jersey Activists Disrupt Saks

Submitted by New Jersey Animal Save Movement:

On Sunday, January 31, a group of compassionate NJ activists, including several parents and children, walked as a group into Saks Off 5th within a mini-mall in Shrewsbury, NJ.  This action was well-planned and organized as a peaceful yet attention-grabbing disruption to send a strong clear message that animal torture and death in the name of fashion is unacceptable.

Upon arriving through the door of the store, the lead speaker, using a megaphone and holding a fake “dead skinned animal body,” spoke out about the truth behind the fur industry, emphasizing the pain and torture that animals endure such as vaginal and anal electrocution and being skinned alive. Security personnel hovered around the lead speaker but took no aggressive action. Additional activists spread out around the front of the store holding signs like “Marc Metrick has blood on his hands,” calling upon the CEO of Saks to go fur-free, as well as signs reading, “Fur is Dead,” and “Animals are Not Ours to Wear.” One activist held a monitor which played continuous video of graphic images of live animals like rabbits, wolves, coyotes, foxes, minks and chinchillas being restrained while their skins are painfully cut off their bodies, and other common practices within the fur industry.

Eventually this group of dedicated activists exited the store and formed a line outside the front door.  They continued speaking out through megaphones including loudly chanting “Stop the torture, stop the pain. Saks Fifth Avenue is to blame,” and “Saks has blood on their hands.” Activists chanted together, held signs and banners and brought attention to passersby and customers of Saks. Police officers were called and remained present with the activists for the duration of the protest appearing to do so to keep order and safety. The activist believe this was another step in the right direction toward a cruelty-free world for animals.

Miami Activists Mob Saks Fifth Avenue

Submitted by Miami activists:

On January 30, twenty-five activists gathered near Saks Fifth Avenue in Downtown Miami ready for action. We grabbed our signs, turned on our megaphones, and marched towards the Saks wing of the Brickell City Centre mall. Awaiting us, we found a panoply of guards and police, nearly ten at every store entrance. We knew then that it was going to be a fun day.

We began our peaceful and orderly protest on 8th St by the Saks valet area and entrance, and our impact was palpable. Our chants about the fur trade echoed through the downtown area. Our signs caught looks from countless drivers on this busy artery.

Witnessing our success, the sad, small men in uniform tripped over themselves trying to invent one reason after another why we could not stand on this public sidewalk. We finally tired of arguing, and decided to give them what they were asking for. Marching around the complex to 7th St, we found ourselves chanting by the side entrance of a mall courtyard full of customers enjoying lunch.

Seeing their error, the geniuses in blue went into conniptions. They immediately began threatening arrest, and when asked for cause, said that the people eating didn’t want to hear us. But the last time we checked, protesting on public property near a place of food consumption is not a crime in this country. With American flag patches on their uniforms, these cops and cop wannabes were in a frenzy to deny us our First Amendment rights. Their true objection was not the time, place, or manner of our protest – it was the protest itself. We were not about to be intimidated by these traitors, but realized once again that complying with their illegal requests was in fact to our advantage.

That’s because the remaining street was Miami Ave. On 8th, we had been able to make our message heard by the public. On 7th, by a select set of diners. But on Miami, our voices echoed through the entire mall courtyard.

We stuck around for another hour or so, with the mall cops scratching their heads and erratically throwing Red Bull-fueled tantrums. We knew they had lied to us about applicable laws in the prior areas, but had simply outfoxed them. (And thankfully, gathered their names for our attorneys, should they choose to lie to us and violate our rights in the future.) And our message rang through downtown Miami on behalf of animals on fur farms, with shoppers on every level of the mall coming to the side of the walkway to look down and see what we had to say. With all the harassment, we still kept the message 100% on the animals – all to the great embarrassment of Saks. One passerby even stopped to take a picture with us and show her support.

See you next time, Saks!

Atlanta Activists Give A+O a Surprise

Submitted by Atlanta activists:

Alice + Olivia has seen massive protests nationwide, but still will not commit to going fur-free. So we decided that the best way for us to relax on a winter Sunday afternoon would be to head over to their Atlanta boutique and express ourselves with our full capabilities.

When we arrived in Buckhead Village, we found that A+O had posted two guards outside of their store, one stationary and one roving. Clearly, the hard-hitting actions across the country in the prior two days had an impact, and our hearts filled with joy at the thought of increased overhead for animal abusers.

We’re not sure what A+O thought they were accomplishing, but they certainly didn’t darken our day. When we returned after some food and coffee, their hired goons had left. And we made our move.

Entering the store with megaphones blaring, our message was immediately clear: stop tormenting innocent animals on fur farms. We stayed inside chanting and educating employees until our friends in the Atlanta PD arrived and asked us to move our protest to the sidewalk out front.

Despite our compliance, the police couldn’t resist cooking up some trouble in an effort to intimidate us out of exercising our First Amendment rights. But their shenanigans disrupted store operations and called the entire block’s attention to A+O’s animal cruelty better than we could have hoped to on our own. Thanks, officers. See you next time.

Alice + Olivia, you know that fur is cruel and outdated. Go fur free.

Activist Disrupts Connecticut A+O While on Road Trip

Submitted by a vegan traveler:

While driving to visit my sister, I decided to stop by Alice + Olivia in Greenwich, Connecticut.  I couldn’t drive through a town that has an Alice + Olivia and not stop to disrupt their business.

One of my non activist friends went inside the store undercover to pretend to be shopping so that she could catch the disruption on video. Although she is not an activist, she knows how despicable the fur industry is and she was eager to help. 

I went in the store with my sign and message of compassion. I told the employees that we (animal rights activists) will peacefully protest at every store, in every city, until their CEO Stacey makes the compassionate decision to stop selling fur.  I peacefully walked out of the store  and then I then stood outside and chanted  with my megaphone.  Alice + Olivia’s neighbors deserve to know that they support the cruel and horrific  fur industry. 

While doing activism alone may seem brave, and it did take a lot of courage for me to do (I had to give myself a pep talk before) It is always safest when other activists are their to support you and have your back in case anything unexpected happens. 

Alice + Olivia,  please make the compassionate decision to go fur free!