Monday, October 15, 2012

Fur real?

Although fur was one of the first materials with which humans fabricated their clothes, it has certainly had it's ups and downs in the fashion industry. Leading up to the 1980s, fur was symbolic of everything rich, luxurious and fashion forward. It was the epitome of class and social power; every woman simply had to have it.

In the late 80s, organizations such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and Respect for Animals issued a worldwide campaign against the fur trade. Some extremists went as far as pouring red paint on public figures that wore fur. PETA recruited stores like Topshop and Forever 21 to boycott the trend.  Celebrities like long-time vegan, Natalie Portman who refuses to eat or wear anything that comes from an animal, started to come into the spot light as heros.

It is difficult to play judge and jury since the fur trade employs thousands of people including First Nations that hunt in northern Canada and Russia. However, animals in most slaughter houses and fur farms live in horrendous conditions, often stuffed in undersized cages and never succeed in seeing the light of day before they are murdered. Fur farms have also been known to utilize the most cost efficient ways to kill the animals without damaging the pelts such as poisoning, manual strangulation and occasionally they even skin them alive.

Eventually, the heat of the controversy started to die down and in the late 2000s, Anna Wintour featured fur on the cover on American Vogue. Animal pelts soon started to come back in style. Today, it is coming back in different ways; sometimes synthetic and sometimes vintage which is helping to reduce the number of souls that are lost to fashion.

 Karl Lagerfeld once said that it is "childish" to boycott fur in fashion in a world where it is normal to eat animals. The choice of going for fabulous looking fur or going home with a clean conscious is yours to make. What would you choose?

Design Against Fur Fashion - DAFF
An iconic anti-fur campaign by Respect for Animals.
Here is a link to a video I found on the PETA website, demonstrating how animals are treated in fur farms. Just a warning, it disturbed me and literally made me feel sick to my stomach therefore I was unable to watch the entire clip.

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