We asked you what you think...
When it comes to fashion, there is no topic more divisive than fur. For the past two seasons at London Fashion Week, protesters have picketed outside venues, playing audio of dying animals and holding placards depicting their maimed bodies. They’ve spat and screamed, alleging that working in fashion or attending a show means an inherent complicity with the fur trade. (We’re waiting on an official number, but as far as we can tell, the brands showing at LFW using real fur are few).
In October, to applause from the audience who had gathered at the London College of Fashion to hear him speak, Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri announced that the Italian house would no longer use fur. “It’s not modern,” he said. Tom Ford followed suit in February, shortly before his AW18 show. And yesterday, we reported that Donatella Versace had become the latest heavyweight to add her name to the no fur cause – “Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right,” she told the Economist’s 1843 Magazine.
This season’s runways featured a lot of faux: from the rainbow cape which Cara Delevingne closed the Burberry show in, to the film noir-esque Givenchy coats employed by Clare Waight Keller. Still, in the more fur-friendly cities of Milan and Paris, you couldn’t go half an hour without seeing an attendee in a colourful, fur-trimmed Saks Potts coat (the Danish brand’s furs have “topped the wish list of every editor on the Eastern seaboard”, according to Vogue.) And it doesn’t stop with furs: in a low-key presentation of a collection created by the in-house design team, Céline showed a series of snakeskin boots sure to show up on the glossy pages of magazines by the time AW18 rolls around.
While Business of Fashion has explored whether millennials (a word we can’t wait to see the end of) will boost rather than ban the fur trade, we wanted to know what you, our readers, thought about it all. Do you wear fur? What about leather? Do the aggressive tactics of protesters turn you off? And fundamentally, does fur have a place in fashion? Here’s what you think.
CANCEL FUR – AND LEATHER WHILE YOU’RE AT IT
“I’d never buy fur or leather new. I agree with the ethos of fashion houses moving away from fur completely, but I think that to simply move away from fur is not enough, as leather is just as bad. Companies should follow the likes of @stellamccartney and work with sustainable leather alternatives and strive to eliminate all animal products from future collections. It seems categorically wrong to me that animals should die for the sake of fashion.”
WE’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE – NOTHING CHANGES
“We’ve been here before and we will again. Remember David Bailey’s anti-fur ad in the 80s? It killed the fur industry with a hard-hitting, hard to swallow ad screened in cinemas. And then Tom Ford happened at Gucci and then the likes of blatant fur wearing icons (like) Kate Moss and Sienna Miller and well, fashion did its thing and about-turned. Fashion has no morality nor integrity – it’s a business and jumps on bandwagons to shift product. Fur companies backhand (sponsor) fashion colleges and designers and that will happen again and again... a lifetime in the industry making a stand and nothing changes.”
TECHNOLOGY MEANS IT’S TIME WE MOVE ON
“We now live in times where the there are great developments in new ethical and green fabrics. Vegan leathers such as pinetax made from pineapple fibers. It’s time that we move on and look to new fabrics and processes. Also we as consumers need to stand up and think about where our clothes come from. Who makes them, where the fabrics/materials come from, the environmental impacts of the fabrics and processes evolved in farming and producing them. Fashion is changing but still has a long way to go. But if we as consumers didn't buy into these unethical means of production then there would be no place or market for them.”
“If we as consumers didn't buy into these unethical means of production then there would be no place or market for them”
PEOPLE STILL WANT FUR, SO BRANDS STILL MAKE IT
“At the end of the day it’s a business. Demand drives the supply. It is clear though a fashion house has the power to create an image and desire for a different approach making faux fur more desirable.”
FUR IS A FASHION ART FORM
“Unlike regular coats, fur coats are treated like jewellery. (A fur coat) will be added to your net worth, you can pawn it, you can resell it for even a higher amount or recycle it into another form of clothing or another coat, the options are endless. And people who take fashion seriously appreciate the art of craftsmanship – these coats are not just ‘coats’.”
FUR WON’T END JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE FEEL BAD FOR ANIMALS
“Regardless of purpose, it’s no different from killing a cow, a pig, a chicken, a fox, a crocodile, a mouse or a bird. They won’t hate you for killing them and they won't know, just like that chicken I ate last night. By the way why is (fashion) mainly anti fur but not anti crocodile skin? Is it because furry animals are cuter? They should have stricter regulations to restrict and manage the fur farms. Making sure they’re doing the right things. The business won't go because some people feel bad for the cute fluffy furry animals. I actually don't really care if the fur farms go down or not. I just think people are putting too much human emotions onto animals, like they can feel human feelings.”
PEOPLE OPPOSE FUR, BUT STILL EAT MEAT
“Funny how a lot of people want to oppose using fur because of animal cruelty, yet would still eat meat and unknowingly wear leather. There’s always hypocritical irony coming from the bandwagon left. Don’t let PC culture ruin fashion. Designers should be free to use whatever they want to create whatever they want.”
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT FAKE OR REAL, IT’S ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY
“The issue with fur doesn’t just stop at the question of ‘fake or real?’ because fake-fur is currently produced in such a way that it can have other ethical and sustainable issues in itself. The majority of fake fur is currently produced using non-renewable plastics which when eventually disposed of will not biodegrade and will essentially last forever unless they’ve been produced circularly (with recycling in mind from the very beginning of the design process). Whichever way you look at it, fur is unattractive in principle and if you're going to wear or promote it in any form, vintage or second-hand fur is the best way to go, whether that be fake or real.”
“Like, prioritise people. We can think about the animals once the kids assembling your $5 t-shirts stop dying in factory fires”
FUR SHOULD BE REGULATED, BUT NOT BANNED
“Unless you are fully vegan and you don’t use make-up and products that have been tested on animals, ie: soap, skincare products, essentially all medications, and even some clothing to check for irritants, you can’t be against fur. How many people that speak up against fur have leather shoes, a leather bag, or have eaten a burger or chicken in the past few days?...News flash: we’ve used animal hides and fur in clothing for as far as history goes back – and sorry to tell you, but those synthetic fibers in faux fur that are ‘just as good as animal fur so why are we still killing animals’ can take anywhere from 500-1000 years to break down naturally (Editor’s note: it’s unclear how long synthetic fur will take to degrade in landfill – but this figure is accurate for plastic bags also made of synthetic fibres). I don’t think fur should be banned, but just like all other textiles and fabrics, it should be regulated.”
TACKLING FAST FASHION SHOULD BE OUR FIRST PRIORITY
“I feel fur and leather are much less of a problem than fast fashion. Fur and leather can last you generations of use while cheaply manufactured fast fashion garments will fall apart after one wash and contribute to pollution. Until we can create an efficient, durable leather substitute, we should put more focus into maybe making the industry more humane, in the sense of only using by-products of the meat industry (which we should also work on making more humane), while putting our main focus into solving the environmental and humane issues of fast fashion.”
WHAT ABOUT THE HUMAN COST OF FASHION?
“What bothers me about this question is how heated people get over it when there are larger issues within the fashion industry that need to be tackled… While I do believe that fur has no place in the modern fashion world I think it’s fucking silly that people are more willing to get bent out of shape over (what are for the most part overpopulated and not endangered) animals while they’re cool to turn a blind eye to the fact that human beings are getting fucked up in factories that are literally crumbling around them. Like, prioritise people. We can think about the animals once the kids assembling your $5 t-shirts stop dying in factory fires.”
Comments have been edited and condensed.