Thursday, 8 March 2012

Are You Fur-Real? : The Ongoing Predicament of Fur, Fashion And Silent Dissent

I was perusing my Twitter timeline at leisure this morning over a very large coffee, I kept seeing snippets of conversation about Kanye West and fashion. Now I would never normally put the two together being that I've seen some of the things he's worn and he isn't a man I'd associate with taste, but nevertheless apparently he'd debuted his second fashion collection. One of the prevailing motifs with what was being said was about the fur use. Being that this is a prime point of contention with me I thought I'd have to have a look.

Astrakhan fur, chinchilla, crocodile
and leather on Kanye West's runway
His collection was hugely focused around fur, I was pretty shocked if I'm honest. Fur was used in everything, bags, collars, coats even shoes. It was ridiculous and completely superfluous and to my mind along with others pointed out the glaring inability of the rapper to actually design well and thus fall on fur to create 'luxe' in the collection. Most perturbingly according to the press his favoured fur of choice was Astrakhan, for those who don't know (including myself until today) it is the fur from an unborn lamb. For this process the pregnant mother is killed and her foetal lamb is cut out so it can be skinned. Because you know the coat is the most curly then obviously. I actually shudder. Genuinely. Why must things that are considered luxurious have to be so cruel? What is luxurious about cruelty? Crocodile skin bags, do you know how they kill those crocodiles? You probably don't want me to tell you but it's long and arduous and on a pole. Nice yeah?

So we have this rap star gorging himself on furs to make up for a sub par collection and what effect does it have? Well it means that his little fans that can't afford to buy his clothes look for cheaper knock offs in real fur, and what does this mean? Usually Chinese manufacture and cheaper fur used, yes folks that usually means cats and dogs. My isn't it all so lovely? I won't go into the ins and outs of how fur is got and processed as to be honest it turns my stomach as it is so barbaric but the methods are well documented to avoid harming the pelt.

The Reality


I think we can well and truly say fur is back (unfortunately). It would appear the 'I'd rather go naked than wear fur' ads of the 90s have been completely forgotten which is probably due in part to the Vogue editor Anna Wintour who adores fur and also being sponsored by large furriers to bring fur back onto the runways again. As we all know Vogue endorsement gives a green light to designers to use fur when for a period of time it was very out of fashion. And oh boy have they used it!

I find the whole fur trade hugely distasteful and disgusting. We're supposedly enlightened modern people now, why are we wearing fur like cave men? What is so luxurious about knowing that what you're wearing has caused pain and cruelty to God knows how many little animals? Stella McCartney created her own synthetic fur which I was really pleased to get my hands on, it felt amazing and no animals were cruelly killed in the process. It makes me think even though there is the technology to create fabulous synthetic the fact that real is still used is completely reprehensible. It's all very well to do something when there is no alternative, or when you don't know any better. But there are alternatives, we know the processes, we know how cruel it is, yet we still use it. Mind boggled!

Vintage Fur


I know a lot of people seem to create a distinction between modern fur and vintage fur. Many people who say oh I'd never wear fur, think that buying vintage furs is fine. Now I have to say it may be a grey area but it's still fur folks. It's still made from animal pelts, age does not change that. It is somehow more socially acceptable because it was a while ago. Lots of things were done a while ago, but that doesn't make them more socially acceptable, the Nazi movement was the same age as a lot of these furs, will you be wearing support for that, it was a while ago. Ok I'm being flippant but my point is that because something is old doesn't make it more acceptable.

You see I've had this discussion with friends and they've said 'oh but I'm not supporting animals killed now, I'm not wearing furs from the modern fur trade'. You may not be wearing fur from an animal killed recently but you still are wearing it. And even though it's vintage, by wearing it you're still endorsing and promoting the wearing of fur. Why else would you be wearing it? You wear it because you think you look fabulous in it, others look and you and think 'oh her fur is nice, I'd like to get one too' and so it continues. By wearing fur you're endorsing it. Simple as that. That's not me being mean but vintage fur is really just a light shade of grey, it's still fur.  If you don't support the modern fur trade you should probably reconsider buying into vintage furs. Many of my friends who wear them are great opponents of animal testing which seems slightly ridiculous, to disparage animal testing for devaluing life to fulfil a need or a frivolous product. *Cough* fur's the same *Cough*

Conclusion


For me I'm always just appalled by the sheer disrespect for life that it embodies. It leaves a really bad taste in my mouth that our want for frippery outweighs a life, just the sheer triviality of a piece of fashion that will be tossed aside being worth more than the hundreds of animals it took to make it. It's just not right whatever way you want to slice it. For me the Kanye West show illustrated this to the hilt, just completely unnecessary and used as a crutch to try and give the collection some 'credibility'. I think until Anna Wintour gets bored of fur and stops endorsing it in Vogue, or until there is more of a high profile movement against fur again we probably won't see the end of it. Until then do think twice before you reach for that fur in the vintage shop, age is not an excuse.

Much Love 


7 comments:

John Baxter said...

We can never call ourselves enlightened when people like Kanye West and that Kardashian atrocity can be held up as beckons of modern society. I dare say neither of them could actually spell fur let alone articulate why they seem to think it's ok. I've always found West to be little more than a self indulgent egotist who's greatest talent is his ability to delude himself and the stable of fan boys he's cultivated. These people make me sick, and as for Anna Wintour I'd like to say her old ass should know better but you really can't teach an old mutt new tricks.

I'm sure a lot of his reason behind the "collection" and I use this word loosely, as loose as his morals or Kardashian's legs, is to spark controversy because if it was left to ability alone he wouldn't even get a market stall on Castle Street.

These people are repulsive as are anyone who sports and supports fur, no exceptions, no excuses, no talent.

Apologies for any typos as when the heckles go up the finger accuracy goes down.

Chantelle said...

Never heard of Astrakhan either and now I actually want to vomit. Disgusting! I have never worn fur and never will. First of all it is unnecessary cruelty and secondly I don't think it looks nice. I don't see the allure at all!

DawnieP said...

Couldn't agree more, still laughing at 'her old ass should know better' to be honest lol.

DawnieP said...

I can see the allure if you're an ice fisherman from a remote Inuit community, it's warm and it's available when you kill animals for their meat to feed your family and take the pelts to keep them warm. I can't argue with that, but in our developed thoroughly modern society it is completely unnecessary. I agree with you on the nausea making.

Kim (A Very Sweet Blog) said...

That is HORRIBLE! I didn't know about the fur he was using so i'm glad you posted this. I know I REALLY didn't like his shoe/boot collection. I saw a horrible PETA video that showed how snakes were skinned alive. Designers should be mindful of this. Excellent post.
http://www.averysweetblog.com/

DawnieP said...

It just makes me feel really sick even thinking about the cruelty. I think the designers don't give it a thought, they just get it supplied.
Just makes me feel really ill.

Chi-Chi said...

thank you for writing this post;i have to say that i was never really a fan of fur in the first place......

discovering what Astrakhan is - well that's shocking. imagine killing human mothers to get the baby's umbilical cord for medicinal purposes?! absolutely shocking.

a thought provoking post.

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