Italian luxury fashion house Prada has announced it will stop using animal fur from next year.

The designer brand which has sold mink, fox and rabbit pieces is making the change to meet the demand for ethical products from shoppers.

Fur will no longer be part of future designs from February 2020 after its spring-summer 2020 women's collection.

Multiple animal charities had been working with Prada behind the scenes after running a public campaign urging the brand to drop fur last September.

The label's chief executive Miuccia Prada said: "The Prada Group is committed to innovation and social responsibility, and our fur-free policy – reached following a positive dialogue with the Fur Free Alliance, in particular with LAV and the Humane Society of the United States – is an extension of that engagement.

"Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products."

Animal charities are describing the move as one of the most significant fur-free fashion statements yet in their continuing campaign to end the use of all fur worldwide.

Prada continued: "Prada Group's historic announcement to go fur-free comes at a time when an unprecedented number of designers are turning their backs on the cruel fur trade and are fronting fashion based on fabric innovation instead of animal exploitation.

"Anti-fur policies like Prada's prove that forgoing fur isn't a fast-fashion trend, it's a step change to meet the demands of ever more socially and environmentally conscious consumers.

"As well as being unspeakably cruel, fur is also a nightmare for the environment, using and producing a cocktail of pollutants.

"Fashion leaders like Prada, Gucci and Burberry are clear that fur has had its day."

"It leaves a shrinking list of designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Fendi and Dolce & Gabbana looking hugely isolated and out of step with the anti-fur zeitgeist.

"Fur sales bans are being considered in New York and California; now is the moment for the UK government to shine on its commitments to animal welfare and make Britain the first country in the world to ban the sale of animal fur."

Fur farming was banned in the UK in 2000 on moral grounds – after a consultation found "overwhelming public support to end the practice."

However, the UK still imports foreign farmed fur, including fox, rabbit, mink, raccoon and chinchilla from countries such as China and Poland.

Designer and animal rights campaigner Stella McCartney has described current UK legislation as "hypocritical and unacceptable".