The Devil Wears Fur


The snow has hit many UK towns, and despite the excitement of seeing Basingstoke on the news – I am freezing. It’s beautiful but deadly and as people slip along the icy roads they are wisely wrapped up to keep out the chill.

Even now the ice has almost melted away there is one layer some people refuse to shed – fur. It is becoming more and more popular to wear, once a completely taboo item, it can now be seen everywhere from glossy fashion magazines to ordinary people walking along the street.

New York, London and Milan fashion weeks this year were filled with animal skins of all descriptions – from fox to lemur; you can have your wild animal and wear it.

This year fur made appearances at Versace, Alexander McQueen and Jean Paul Gaultier, while Karl Lagerfeld covered motorbike helmets with mink and chinchilla.

In 1994 supermodels appeared in an advertisement for Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and Naomi Cambell, Elle Macpherson, Cindy Crawford and others claimed they would rather go naked than wear fur. This seems like a distant memory and Cambell now fronts the campaign for luxury fur designer, Dennis Basso.

Scarily it’s not just the high-end designers who are using skins in their clothes, both Nine West and Dune have produced rabbit fur-lined boots recently and even high street darling Zara has featured it.

I can’t deny I do love fur. It does look and feel good and seems to represents a class above other materials. However surely nothing can justify the disgusting and inhumane treatment of animals that goes on to produce such items.

I am not a huge animal rights activist. I am definitely not a vegetarian and I wear leather shoes and jackets. However leather is a by-product whereas animals are killed solely for their  fur and this is something I draw the line at.

Some fur producers do kill the animals humanely but there is no way of telling if your fur hat has been killed this way or slowly tortured and skinned alive.

Fur is popular again now and Keira Knightley, Lindsay Lohan, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and pretty much any other celebrity you can think of can be seen in mink or rabbit accessories with no fear of repercussions.

Real fur is fashionable and it doesn’t seem to have half as much impact than it did in the 1990s. Is it just not trendy to care about it anymore? Now celebrities are wearing it are we more concerned with looking good in fur then where it has come from? Or are people just too ignorant to want to know how their fur coat was made? Does anyone really care anymore?

Karl Lagerfeld, said this year: “In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and clothes and even handbags, the discussion of fur is childish.”

Several years ago at a Condѐ Nast Christmas party, anti-fur protesters surrounded the building and Anna Wintour responded by sending down a plate of roast beef. Clearly Wintour has no desire to stop endorsing fur products and why should she – everyone is wearing it, it’s everywhere in fashion and Vogue is a fashion magazine.

But some designers still refuse to produce it.  Stella McCartney successfully uses viable alternatives in her clothes – why can’t this be a norm with all designers?

And not every celeb  insight is wearing fur. Eva Mendes has spoken out against wearing it and recently Twilight’s Christian Serrato posed for peta stating she would rather be naked than wear animal skins.

However good fur feels when you know that some fur farms keep up to four foxes in cages measuring two and a half feet square, and most are normally strangled or beaten to death before being skinned – can anything really feel that good?

On most farms, animals can be gassed, electrocuted or poisoned after having their necks broken.  If people can vigilantly oppose fox-hunting – this slow torturous sport occupied by many of the upper classes throughout the country – why don’t people stand up and demand real fur to be removed from our shops?

It’s easy enough to forget how your mink wrap suffered and the fashion industry is all too fond of labeling their fur items as ‘ethically sourced’. The truth is there is no way you can prove how your fur coat was produced.

Fake fur looks and feels just as good. If the UK can start a Jamie Oliver style campaign against battery hens why can’t it wake up and stop the produce and selling of real fur items? Do people have bigger and more important issues to worry about now? Or do we prefer not to know how these products are produced and can therefore pretend we’re not to blame? Have too many people now bought into the idea of fur as a fashionable accessory after seeing it on world-wide fashion shows and as a normal item on celebrities?

Ignorance is not an excuse – however good a fur coat looks, an animal has still had to suffer unimaginable torture for it to end up on the hanger. That is something we need to stop ignoring.

Click here and pledge to stop the fur trade

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Devil Wears Fur

  1. Pingback: Is it ok to wear fur? « BBC World Have Your Say

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