Fendi’s fall launch is on. The city of Seoul appeared on the verge of a fashion – and business – faux pas last week as officials threatened to cancel Fendi’s plan to stage the launch of its fall and winter fashion line on June 2 at a new culture center in the Han River.
The reason: anti-fur protesters were upset that a portion of the products that Fendi will launch at the show are either trimmed in fur or completely made from it. Controversy-averse officials asked Fendi to drop its fur products or face being kicked out of the glitzy new venue. Fendi protested. The launch is one of its biggest marketing events of the year, takes months of planning and involves flying in hundreds of models and journalists. Undoing all of that in just three weeks would damage its business and its effort to give Seoul a bigger presence in world fashion.
Over the past week, the two sides reached a deal. The compromise: The show will go on and Fendi will broaden the number of products that are introduced, adding bags, shoes, watches and other accessories, to dilute some of the attention given to fur-based fashion. On top of that, Fendi will set up a scholarship program in South Korea for students who are interested in design, which has been a big interest for Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, and create design competition for Korean college students that will result in an internship at the company.