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Karl Lagerfeld speaks out on fur in fashion

‘It’s very easy to say no fur, no fur, no fur, but it’s an industry.’

You could never accuse Karl Lagerfeld of getting caught without an opinion, and this week, he's got one on fur. The designer just announced that he will stage Haute FourrureFendi's first ever couture show, in July. The landmark collection will feature – you guessed it – lots and lots of fur, in keeping with Fendi's long history with the material. 

In a typically lively interview with the New York Times, Karl revealed more details about the forthcoming show, dismissing the idea that it would be a nostalgic look at Fendi's association with fur. 

"In the past, Fendi did only fur," he said. "Then they started to do ready-to-wear and funny fur (i.e. faux fur), but this was 40 years ago. Now, it’s time to do the highest level of couture fourrure. But better to do it during haute couture because it’s the right place to show it to the right people. That’s a very simple idea. It’s nothing going back to any roots. It’s planting new trees."

Lagerfeld also came out swinging in support of the fur industry. "For me, as long as people eat meat and wear leather, I don’t get the message," he said. "It’s very easy to say no fur, no fur, no fur, but it’s an industry. Who will pay for all the unemployment of the people if you suppress the industry of the fur? The hunters in the north for the sable, they have no other job, there is nothing else to do. Those organizations who are much against it, they are not Bill Gates."

Lagerfeld is right – fur is big, big business. Figures released by the International Fur Federation show that sales of fur products were estimated at $35.8 billion in 2014. At Milan Fashion Week, he used fur extensively in the Fendi AW15 collection – he's never been a designer to shy away from the material. Where do you stand?