When I stepped out of my apartment this weekend in this fun new outfit I wasn’t quite sure what article would accompany my photos. That was until I was forced to use the side entrance of Harvey Nichols for fear of being attacked by the anti-fur protesters that had hijacked the main entrance. Although it may have appeared that poor Sulley from “Monsters Inc” had been skinned alive to adorn me in my spectacular snood it was in fact a poor fox that given up its fur for my fashion fulfilment. So this got me thinking about the issue of fur in fashion and how I haven’t really thought about it or the ethical issues surrounding it for quite sometime.
There was a time in England when people wouldn’t dare to go out dressed in fur without fear of being splattered with paint or shamed by looks of disapproval, but now it would seem that fur has become more acceptable and increasingly popular. The A/W 2013 catwalks had nearly 70% of collections featuring fur and at Fendi all looks featured fur. This is a far cry from what was happening 16 years ago in 1994, when fur was neither morally nor aesthetically fashionable. At the time some of the most prominent figures in the fashion industry were involved in the campaign “I Would Rather go Naked than Wear Fur”…something I still believe in, not because I’m opposed to wearing fur but because I’m secretly a nudist!
Whilst it would appear that public opinion regarding fur has changed, so have many of the cruel practices that the fur industry was long associated with. The fur industry is now committed to the humane and responsible treatment of animals and is very highly regulated at local, national and international levels. Animals are killed humanely. There is no conclusive evidence that animals are skinned alive as part of the fur industry (despite the PETA videos). Instead, animals are killed via carbon monoxide in a low stress environment. All parts of the animal are then used, often as pet food or other animal feed so no part of the animal is wasted. Wild animals, which are trapped, are also highly regulated, with strict seasonal rules in place and it is also worth pointing out that no endangered animals are ever hunted.
And some people take the view that fur is better for the planet as it is biodegradable and a sustainable resource that is more environmentally sound than faux fur alternatives, most of which are made from petrochemicals which are a non-renewable resource that cannot breakdown in a landfill.
However given all these positives it cannot be denied that in some places, namely China, barbaric slaughtering systems do still exist. Researching this article has opened my eyes to some really horrific practices that occur in order to provide us with fur, and I have found it very difficult to watch most of PETA’s videos. However, one video, even though it still made for harrowing viewing, presented a more logical viewpoint – this one below by Tim Gunn (Project Runway)…be warned it contains some pretty graphic images.
But I feel this video is important to watch as it gets people thinking about how animal products are sourced, and not just fur; leather and even wool are not ethically virtuous either. The meat industry is also guilty of horribly mistreating animals and for a long time now I have refused to buy cheap supermarket battery chicken in favour of free range instead. But am I a hypocrite if I admit to enjoying the odd Big Mac from time to time?
So considering all points I have been left in somewhat of a moral muddle as to my view on fur. But I have come to the conclusion that unless you are a fully-fledged vegan who doesn’t consume any animal products then you have no right to brand someone who wears fur an animal killer. What is important is that we as consumers must be less ignorant when buying fur, and all animal products for that matter and recognise the products’ true origins.
Fox-Fur Snood: Hockley, Jumper: ALC, Trousers: Sandro, Jacket: Saint Laurent, Handbag: Burberry, Necklace: Escada, Sunglasses: Shakuhachi
Also please note : All furs at Hockley are ethically farmed following strict governmental guidelines. All of the garments feature a swing tag which will explain to the customer where and how the fur was farmed and sourced, so that they can be confident that no animals suffered in the making of their garment.