Well, this sucks. From the looks of the recent Paris runways, fur is definitely not going anywhere anytime soon.
Fendi recently held a “haute fourrure” show last Wednesday, which was the first fur-only extravaganza by a major design label during Paris Fashion Week. And, unfortunately, the Italian fashion house isn’t alone in embracing fur.
Designers like Michael Kors, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Jeremy Scott of Moschino have all showcased fur recently, but like Fendi executives, they have all remained mum on the subject, as did several other prominent designers, fashion editors and even fashion bloggers.
“Fur has always been a hot-button issue in fashion, and now more than ever because the consumer has the ability to research and decide for themselves where they want to stand,” Robert Burke, founder of the luxury consultancy in New York bearing his name, told the New York Times. “It is really the one area where money and ethics converge in fashion.”
Just when we thought — finally! — that faux fur was catching on, real fur isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Once a speciality item that was found in only the most luxurious of departments, fur can be now be found in ready-to-wear collections sold throughout department stores.
Young designers, like Jason Wu, who uses fur in his collections, are often courted by the fur industry, which sponsors student design competitions and lavishes young designers with free samples and other opportunities.
“The fur trade focuses on young designers like PETA focuses on young consumers,” Dan Mathews, the senior vice president for media campaigns at PETA, said to the Times. “It’s a tug of war that has been going on for years, which explains why fur is still visible on runways but not so much in retail. For the average young person, fur is about as desirable as acne.”
But the fur industry is anything but relentless. The Fur Council of Canada, for instance, has a website, furisgreen.com, which promotes the premise that sustainably-produced fur from farm-raised mink or wild-sourced beaver is a renewable resource, while petroleum, the basis of synthetic fur, is not. Some even see “vintage fur” as acceptable because the animal has long been dead. Same goes for animals who perished as roadkill or from natural causes.
“Some people can choose to be vegetarian, some people are not,” says Wu. “Some people don’t use leathers and furs, and some people do.”
Even so, we still wish that the industry would follow the lead of McCartney, Hugo Boss, and other sympathetic fashion labels like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Vivienne Westwood.