There must be something about the feel and experience of wearing real fur that makes the fashion world so indecently gaga about using it despite the obvious ethical barrier
Fur, it’s something designers have been using even before we can remember, something our ancestors wore to keep warm and something that in the past marked your status in a royal court. But let us ask this, is fur something that fashion still needs? Faux fur is now as luxurious and warm as the real thing. All it lacks is the slaughter of innocent animals. Yet many designers still defend their use of fur without even considering the animal-friendly alternative.
Many animals suffer from the aesthetic and vain use of their beautiful fur. From foxes and rabbits to chinchillas and even dogs. Not long ago PETA had made such an impact on our society that anyone seen donning fur could expect red paint to be thrown at them. Now however a runway doesn’t seem complete without a fur jacket or fur-lined boots. But why exactly is faux fur not enough? Good quality faux can match, if not rival, real fur. It is cheaper, more economically viable and crucially; more environmentally friendly.
One the main perpetrators of this hideous practice is Louis Vuitton, whose Autumn/Winter 2015-16 collection boasted at least eight pieces entirely made from or including real fur. Fendi jumped on this furry bandwagon too with a collection showcasing no fewer than 18 fur pieces. This included fur boots, fur coats, fur skirts and even fur dresses. Even Kurt Geiger got on board with fur bags. It seems barbaric that designers are using fur in such abundance — as if they’ve forgotten where it’s coming from.
What is most amazing though, is the sheer number of designers who claim to be animal lovers and yet continue to use their skin to make money. Karl Largerfeld has such renowned love for his cat that he has even written a book about her; and yet, he has no reservations about the use of fur in fashion. The Fendi designer has even rigorously defended this practise, stating: ‘It’s very easy to say, “no fur, no fur, no fur”, but it’s an industry’.
Another advocate, Rihanna, faced slander when she arrived at the Met Ball earlier this year in a yellow fox-lined dress, showing the true meaning behind extravagance. The piece was designed by Chinese label Guo Pei, and reportedly took 20 months to make. Fur has undoubtedly been creeping back onto the runways and red carpets, and the question is, when will we abandon it?
One argument many people present is over the use of vintage fur, it being considered a more environmentally friendly option to reuse old cuts than create new faux furs. Some animal lovers will still exclaim of course that fur is never okay, but others will allow for the wearing of vintage, and put forward the reasoning that no animal should die in vain.
Still, there are designers who refuse to use fur in their range. Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Vivienne Westwood and Tommy Hilfiger, to name just a few, all proudly boast fur-free collections. Some even go as far as to stop the use of real leather and suede. If some designers are happy to make the change, then why aren’t others? It is alarming how many won’t even consider it, despite the rise of animal rights awareness in recent years. Vegan and vegetarian lifestyles have become more and more popular, and many people refuse to use products tested on animals.
So what’s different about fur? Why do people buy into a look that directly results in the death of an innocent creature? Why won’t more fashion houses turn to faux? Is the fashion industry becoming outdated and old-fashioned?
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