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To Fur Or Not To Fur?

January 31, 2010

I realise that it has been a while since I have managed to do a proper old school top 5, but instead I thought I’d treat you to a slightly more serious and topical post to give you some food for thought on a sunday evening…

Now, most of you have probably already formed a very firm opinion on whether or not you wear real fur. I can tell you now, that just because we live in an arctic country it is not entirely legit to pile it on even here (Norway), though I feel we have somewhat more of an excuse than if you live in, say, California. Personally I am a bit on the fence when it comes to real fur. I love the quality, feel and warmth of the real thing, but before you ask, I have seen the photos and I am not a fan of the fur industry. In fact, I wouldn’t care one bit if the fur industry went under. I am happily conflicted, and so far my compromise is to stick to vintage and whilst I certainly don’t have the money, I also don’t have the inclination to go out and buy myself a brand new piece of fur.

But I will tell you why I am ambivalent about this issue, that seems to spark such animosity and outrage and heated emotions. To me the fur industry is all those things that animal rights protesters say – cruel, unnecessary and feeding on the vanity of women. No arguement there. But how is this any different from the rest of the fashion industry?

I have been working in the fashion industry many years now, and have also been involved in issues relating to ethical trading. Basically, it’s not a pretty world out there, and the fashion industry, much like any consumer driven industry, has in many ways blood on their hands. To me it makes little difference if the blood is from cute furry animals or other human beings. I believe that if you take a strong position against fur because of its cruelty you should also apply that to other aspects of the fashion industry, such as jewelry, which is notorious for using child labour, as is the cotton industry. If you don’t wear fur, don’t wear leather, non-organic cotton or non-ethical jewelry. And while you’re at it, don’t eat any farmed or non-organic, non-fairtrade food either.

I’m an all or nothing kinda girl, so this philosophy is too complicated for me to follow. Even fashion companies with the very best intentions can find it hard to have full control over their supply chains. As long as the cultures and governments of big manufacturing countries such as China and India accept all the breaches to human rights and health & safety guidelines that happen every minute of every day in their factories, we are still a very long way from a perfect world.

Ultimately wearing real fur or not is an intensely personal decision. For me – everything in moderation. I wear fake fur, I try to buy organic if possible, I wish more fair trade products would appear in the shops, but I will not compromise on style, and I do occasionally wear the real thing. I accept that we do not live in a perfect world, but I wish it was more acceptable to make these personal decisions without risking abuse and defamation.

What do you think?

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. Emma permalink
    January 31, 2010 20:57

    I agree 100% with what you have said. I’m actually a fan of vintage fur but would not buy a new piece of fur.

    • February 7, 2010 02:50

      I absolutely love and appreciate old vintage furs. The style, cuts and designs of coats can’t compare to now.
      I have scored on pieces of fur that I would not find anything to compare to it . Personally, I only buy fur in Vintage / Thrift shops. As much as I dry hump a designer piece when I am in SF. I just admire the beauty of it , breathe deep and create balance.

  2. January 31, 2010 22:06

    The problem with that argument (that if you are anti-fur, you should also be anti-leather, pro-fair trade etc) is that two wrongs don’t make a right…just because we might indirectly support other unethical practices, that doesn’t mean we should just give up on trying to make any aspect of the fashion industry fairer and more ethical. You seem genuinely conflicted and thoughtful about this issue, but I suspect that some people simply use this argument as an excuse…

  3. Mona permalink
    February 1, 2010 17:20

    En kan ikke sammenligne pels og skinn. Pelsdyr blir avlet opp i fangenskap for et eneste formål, å se bra ut på mennesker. Med skinn derimot, får dyrene et helt annet liv der de faktisk får leve ute deler av året og får nok av både mat og omsorg. Når folk tar skinnet av et dyr, bruker de jo og resten av kroppen til kjøtt, i forhold til med pels der bare pelsen blir brukt.

    Nå sier jeg ikke at jeg er noen særlig fan av verken kjøtt- eller skinn(som går under kjøtt)industrien, men det er helt forskjellige ting fra pelsindustrien.

  4. February 5, 2010 07:08

    interesting entry! i like seeing your opinions regarding fur.
    like emma, i’m also a fan of vintage fur but will likely never buy a new one.
    very well-said, no wonder you’re in the links a la mode. congrats!

  5. February 5, 2010 22:08

    FUR IS DEAD – no matter how you look at it, and no matter how old it is.

  6. February 5, 2010 22:44

    The problem is extremes, we can do our part were we can, if we go really hard core even fake fur is a no no as it “promotes” the use of fur, to me vintage fur is ideal, the animals are already dead which is sad but at least it means no new animals were sacrificed for a new coat, even better if vintage were sourced to recycle them into new coats

  7. rueparesseux permalink
    February 6, 2010 17:45

    I agree with the vintage fur idea. I have 2 minks, one from my grandmother and one from my mother. I love them both because they are part of my family history and I get endless compliments when I wear them. I don’t think I could ever buy myself a new fur when I have 2 perfectly beautiful ones at home. I can’t say that I am anti fur, but I suppose I’m consciously aware of the decisions I make regarding the products I buy 🙂

  8. February 8, 2010 15:33

    Really liked this article. Personally, I wouldn’t wear real fur at all, vintage or not. I think it’s kinda gross. But then I wear leather shoes – so I guess I’m a hypocrite.

  9. February 13, 2010 16:58

    I prefer not to buy fur…..

  10. Sarah permalink
    August 9, 2011 14:44

    You know what I don’t get? People are up in arms over fur but so many more people wear leather and suede shoes, purses and coats yet fur gets all the attention. I’d be willing to bet half the people who swear they wouldn’t wear fur still wear leather and suede and eat meat. Im for animal rights but I hate te hypocrisy of people.

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