The Origin of Beauty Without Cruelty

By The Rt Hon Muriel, Lady Dowding

The name of Beauty Without Cruelty was not planned. You probably know that for three years just a small group of about eight of us ran the movement on our own pocket money. We had no desire to form another Society; but after a bit the group felt they wanted to have some kind of name, as they were being called “Lady Dowding’s young ladies” – so I agreed to this, and asked them to decide next time we met, what they wanted to be called. 

Many of them sent in suggestions, and just as I was leaving for London to visit a number of furriers who also made the simulation (non-animal) furs, to try and get their support to put on a big London Fashion Show showing the alternatives to the cruelly obtained animal furs, a letter came with a suggestion from one of the group and she wrote “I can not think of any thing we should call ourselves, but my husband says you are obviously Beauty without Cruelty”. At the end of a very weary day I had got one firm to co-operate with us. Most of the others seemed terrified to have anything to do with us, and the owner of the firm said “Now, do I understand this correctly: you want us to put in our simulated fur coats a label to make sure people realize they are not fur, and you want us to help you put on a big fashion show”. I said that was correct. Whereupon he said “What are we to put inside the coats? It will take about three weeks to get the labels done”. 

There are moments in life when your mind goes completely blank, and this was one of them. I could not recall any of the names the rest of the group had suggested, but I did have in my bag this latest suggestion and so, fearing he might change his mind if I hesitated, I immediately said “Beauty Without Cruelty”. At the next meeting I turned up with a new simulated fur coat which I got from the furrier, with the label proudly inside – Beauty Without Cruelty – and this is how we got our name. Perhaps these things are meant…

Muriel Dowding
International Founder and Chairperson
Beauty Without Cruelty