The age-old debate surrounding the ethics of fur in fashion. It’s an ongoing contentious subject that is as old as the migration of fur into the fashion industry.
Today, some indigenous communities living in harsh weather conditions still wear fur as a necessary bi-product from the meat they hunt and a means of warmth for survival, but it is a long time since the Western world has needed this warm material for anything other than materialistic greed. Fur coats traditionally have been synonymous with affluence and elegance. They were expensive items and seen as a way to impress ones wealth. For a long time furhas been sought after for its luxurious aesthetics. However the use of it purely for aesthetic reasons has understandably long been deemed as cruel. Killing an animal for its fur or even as a bi-product is seen at best a little immoral and at worst as murderous and inhumane. Much like the iconic protagonist Cruella De Vil, fur is the ultimate animal rights villain.
Fashion houses (or the ones who have any sense) have moved to faux fur. In the past, I have always been weary of faux fur. I have always thought when done cheaply it can be pretty easy to look a bit tatty and incapsulate the Kat Slater look on the market stall with a matted leopard print jacket. Today however Faux Fur is of such a high quality that it can come in all different colours and styles and so close to the real thing it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference- it’s win win right?
Except that it isn’t. Faux fur is made entirely of synthetics, the materials are very close to plastic something we all know by now doesn’t biodegrade easily and the material can usually can be quite energy-inefficient to produce. Also dyeing the faux-fur can be very toxic and wasteful. Personally I do not agree with wearing the fur of an animal at all, but sometimes in the past this method has been used to cull an overpopulated species. Also purely due to the quality of the coat, most animals will have had at least a healthy existence beforehand to ensure a glossy and full coat.
My mum (who was a vegetarian for 20 years) much like imitation meat, has always wondered why people would want to wear fake fur if they consider fur to be cruel- why wear an imitation of something’s skin. I think this is an interesting point but I don’t agree with it (I also love vegetarian sausages). For me personally, I do not think I could justify wearing animal skin (which is probably hypocritical as I do have a few leather shoes) and I do not like the feeling of animal fur anyway but perhaps one of the most environmentally friendly things to do if you really would like a fur, is to buy an old fur coat – that way you know it is more likely to be biodegradable and at least you are making use of it, however perhaps be prepared to face a few raised eyebrows.
I would love to know how you feel about wearing fur these days? Do you think it is now justifiable to wear a real fur if it is vintage and would otherwise end up in landfill? Or do you think it is just something that should be illegal everywhere? Certainly food for thought….