“In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and even clothes, the discussion of fur is childish.” Karl Lagerfeld
You are probably aware of the cover of Vogue (Paris) for August, promoting fake fur with the help of Gisele Bündchen and a baby kangaroo. It’s also only been a few days since Conor McGregor showed off in a Gucci mink coat. We thought it was the perfect time to discuss the matter of fur in fashion.
Is there a fur debate? In my view there isn’t. A controversy yes, but a debate, no. Because what is a debate? An exchange of arguments in support of opposing views, at the end of which an undecided audience is supposed to be swayed one way or the other, and where partisans of one side may even pull rank and end up agreeing with their opponents.
Yet when it comes to religion, abortion rights, immigration, Spanish bulls, gun control…debate simply doesn’t happen. Opposing sides will cross swords alright, but without really marking points, as preachers and converted will carry on preaching and believing regardless of the existence – or amount – of evidence against their views.
I believe that fur is such a topic. Mind you, THIS can be debated! But I think that we accept or reject fur based on our individual sensibilities, childhood experiences, closeness to nature, level of urbanisation, broader philosophical positions…and that in 99% of cases, that’s that. No debating can profoundly alter our stance on the matter.
Is fur in our out of fashion?
Now, regardless of one’s position, it is fact that fur is back in a big way in the fashion world. Global fur sales have more than doubled in just a few years. In 2014 over 70% of fashion weeks shows in New York, Paris, Milan and London featured fur.
Note that this rebirth of fur is in great part driven by China, who is now a major player, accounting for an estimated 80 percent of the market in terms of consumption. The west was hit by a recession at the same time as the Empire of the middle started to thrive and consume Western luxury goods. The juicy opportunity to make a killing (another pun) by selling them branded fur items was too good to resist. And the Chinese are not exactly known for their concerns in animal welfare department.
Some might suggest to use fake fur instead. And sell this to the Chinese. Afterall don’t they sell us fakes all the time? Well, it is made with petroleum – therefore the environmental impact might actually be pretty bad. Yet, some have argued that actual fur production is in fact more polluting…Ah, the “debate” again…
Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, ), Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger (these last two after pressures from PETA), Ralph Lauren (since 2006), Hugo Boss (since this year), H&M, Zara, All Saints, but also Selfridges, British Vogue editorial content, Naomi Campbell (once upon a time), Lady Gaga (before)…say no to fur in fashion.
Tom Ford, DKNY, Alexander Wang, Fendi, D&G, Alexander McQueen, Burberry’s Prorsum, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Saint Laurent, Hugo Boss (until last year)…as well as Sacks 5th avenue, American Vogue, British Vogue advertising branch, Elle McPherson, Lily Allen, Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, Kate Moss, Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys, Naomi Campbell (in 2009), Lady Gaga (now)…say yes to it.
Where do the Caten twins stand?
Dean and Dan Caten say: “Yes it’s real fur. May be some people disaprove but we’re Canadian, that’s what we grew up with...”.
And in Dsquared2 collections, there is a good bit of fur. And in true Caten style, not in a subtle way.
It is true that the history of Canada is intimately linked to the fur trade. And this heritage lives on. Today two-thirds of Canadians even support the controversial annual seal hunt. As we said above, different environment, different philosophy.
Now, let’s hope that no fundamentalist headcase will ruin our twins’ lunch at Ceresio7 in the same way an activist tossed a dead raccoon on Anna Wintour’s plate at the Four Seasons two decades ago!
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