Fur in the new decade

This Christmas, while eating with my parents on Christmas Eve, the conversation turned to fur. I asked my mother about a little fur jacket she used to dress me in as a toddler. It turned out it was still in my wardrobe, in my childhood bedroom that hasn’t change since I left home in 1996 (aside from the removal of some suspect posters.) So I went to get the aforementioned mini-fur. It still fitted, all be it in cape form and my Mum then reminded me of her adult version. It was found, put on and crudely modelled by me. It was the first time I have worn a real fur, or at least remember wearing a real fur (the mini-version was worn in my memory-less time of infancy.) It was heavy and incredibly warm. In one “try on” the functionality of fur was immediately apparent to me; I could see exactly why so many Parisians donned their furs during the -10C temperatures we experienced there in December. My Mum said I should keep it, all at the party agreed. I however could not. It was coney fur and the amount of pelts (i.e. rabbit skins) that must have gone into the floor-length piece could have numbered 25 plus. To my inexperienced touch, it felt like one of my beautiful cats. It shed little hairs, like one of my cats. It had an animal smell, like one of my cats. That for me was enough reason not to keep it.

My Aunt then brought up a point that I have read about but have never experienced directly. This was a “vintage” fur. These animals were already dead, they would never live again, this coat would otherwise just remain in the wardrobe. I hear so many people say they will only wear vintage fur, for the very reasons my Aunt cited. There the argument falls down for me. In fashion, we are often driven by a covetous desire to replicate someone else’s style, or at least part of it. If that is fur, we will seek and buy fur. If designers see a trend for fur, be it vintage i.e. dead for a long time, they will be tempted to use fur in their collections i.e. dead for slightly less time! Fur for functionality, I can comprehend. If I lived in sub-zero Siberian temperatures, a fur would have a very practical purpose but here in the U.K., I don’t feel temperatures merit it. To be honest, all the people I know that own a fur wouldn’t dream of wearing it in the U.K. snow, for fear of damage. Fur for fashion, is not my thing at all, be it vintage or otherwise, it’s still a dead animal.

The Sartorialist highlights in his photographs above, fur for style only. This I don’t comprehend. I can understand the aesthetic pleasure these looks bring to the wearer but I personally could never put a whole fox around my neck, full stop.* There’s one particular fur practice that completely abhors me; I’ve highlighted it in a previous post…but the vintage/new fur debate still confounds me slightly. As I’ve already mentioned, I don’t do fur but I’m also aware I’m being a complete hypocrite as I do wear leather shoes (my dead animal reasoning fails here.)

I am interested to know where you stand on this. Fake fur has been everywhere this winter, do you wear it? Have you got a “vintage” fur? Would you buy new fur if your favourite designer produced it? The one question I ask myself, is what’s the future of fur? You never see futuristic films with fur. There’s always a new, skintight jumpsuit that regulates temperature. What will happen to all the “vintage” furs that go unworn, left to gather dust in the wardrobe like my Mum’s? Do you disagree and think I should have liberated it? I suppose we’ll just have wait and see…

* Thank you to the Sartorialist for the images. My post is not a criticism of his gorgeous photography, just a comment on my personal style.

I must also direct you to this very insightful (as always) article by Colin McDowell about the use of fur in fashion. The sales figures he quotes are astounding!

13 Responses to “Fur in the new decade” — Comments (RSS Feed)

  1. Kamicha Says...

    The fake fur possesses the same evil wearing vintage fur does. It promotes the trend of wearing fur.

    It was not easy decision for me either, I was strictly against all real fur, to long of my twenties. But then I went back to second hand shopping and saw the piles of real fur rotting in the Finnish charity shops. Yeah, piles, people here in North have definitely worn their share of dead animals. I think that the only thing we can do with those is make sure that they really get a full use – and I learned to repair and maintain fur.

    I’m still against buying new fur, with very slight exceptions. I think that it is hypocrite to make a number of furs that are used in skin and meat production, too – unless one has given up to those, as well. But there are not many (lamb fur and “pony” skin, I guess). And if the origins of the pelts are from hunted (non-endangered) animals, I really don’t see any problem, but that kind of fur is probably extremely rare.

    Fur farming is extremely cruel and should be eventually run down entirely.

  2. Random Fashion Coolness Says...

    I agree on the fake fur promoting the trend of wearing fur. It’s also hard to tell and not many people have a sign on it saying “this isn’t real!”

  3. Karma-Style Says...

    I wear lots of leather and suede, I love it. I also have a pair of patent leather and rabbit fur winter boots which I bought recently. That said, I wouldn’t wear fur coats or jackets as I’m not comfortable with the whole thing really, does that make me a hypocrite also, maybe so. One thing for sure is I have my own personal ethical and aesthetic boundaries.

    Thank you for a great blog – really interesting.

    Come visit my blog when you get a mo: http://karma-styleblog.blogspot.com

  4. Franca Says...

    Great post! This is something I’ve thought about a lot as I’ve seen more and more people wear fur coats.

    I feel very conflicted about the whole thing. Like you, I wear leather but would never wear fur, but what is even weirder is that I’m a little bit more ok with rabbit fur, than say, mink. I think it’s something to do with the fact that you can eat rabbit meat (although I am aware that the rabbits being farmed for fur, and almost certainly not eaten. And I’m a vegetarian). And I had a couple of rabbit skins when I was little. Not as part of clothes, just the fur, kind of like a mini sheepskin throw. I don’t know where they are, but if I found them again, I would be happy to keep them.

    I just think this whole fur thing is so interesting because it shows that for so many people who three years ago would have shuddered at the thought of fur, fashion ultimately trumps ethics.

  5. Reena Rai Says...

    The great fur debate…I have opinions on fur but feel like I don’t really have the authority to make them as I feel like a bit of a hypocrite! I slightly agree with the above comment re: faux fur promoting the trend of wearing fur, but I don’t think faux fur deserves a bashing. I also think that buying vintage fur is more acceptable than buying new fur, as you are not actively supporting the fur industry. But fur is not a necessity so people shouldn’t really be buying it anyway. There are much more sustainable, ethical forms of clothing out there

  6. stevie Says...

    ah, it’s such a tricky issue. I myself love (fake) fur from a stylistic point of view and I own a faux though I haven’t worn it for a while now. I completely agree with what you say about inspiring other people to wear fur by wearing your own, and the point about designers being possibly spurred into creating a collection of furs because of a street trend is such a good point and not one that I have thought about. this for me is one of those selfish VS selfless debates! just like eating meat, I’d love to have enough willpower to cut it out of my life for environmental reasons but I think a life without my mother’s homemade lasagne would cause me to cry myself to sleep.
    but I digress, don’t think I’m quite ready to let go of my own fake fur, but this is certainly food for though.

  7. Intrinsically Florrie Says...

    I avoid all kinds of fur: new real (yuk), vintage and fake for the reasons you stated both on my blog and in my wardrobe. It all just encourages the trend.

    I’ll first say that I’m not really a fan of leather either, but it is a practical fabric. It wears well and lasts so much better than other fabrics such as canvas for things like bags, shoes and belts. But in this country (I’m in England) there is so little call for practical fur and absolutely none for silly bits for fashion (like pictured above)- they vex me greatly. This is not the north pole!

    Best article I’ve seen on he debate.

    Florrie x

  8. Random Fashion Coolness Says...

    Thanks very much Florrie x

  9. Random Fashion Coolness Says...

    It is a tough one, as I too am really drawn to fur from a stylistic point of view…

  10. Ruthie Says...

    Great article, and very level-headed comments too – often the fur debate sends people a little bit mad!

    I agree with most of the above. I love the look of fur but I just don’t feel comfortable wearing it (especially not in the UK). I deal with a lot of vintage, and it does make me sad that old furs are being destroyed because people won’t wear them…

    But then the ways new fur is produced in some parts of the world is beyond awful, and I’d hate to contribute in any way to it.

    But I do wonder if leather/suede, and of course meat, is always produced ethically? And why we don’t seem to care as much if it isn’t? Is it because we’re less sympathetic to the animals in question? Or is it because we deem it ‘necessary’ in a way that fur just isn’t?


  11. Laurent Says...

    I agree with Ruthie about the levelheaded comments. It’s a very touchy and individually biased subject. Clothing choice to me, is the way of expressing yourself & the people who I know that interest me with their choices are the gutsy & opinionative, not the sheepish who do as fashion tells them.

    My personal debate with fur ended a long time ago, in fact this includes a vast amount of animal products. I do not contribute to new animal products; this including fur, leather, silk, reptile skin, ivory & breaching into cosmetics & vegetarianism (The latter two I won’t go into now, as I try & tear myself away from the preachy animal activist box)

    I do however have a massive nurturing instinct of not wasting anything & it does pain me to see these products & their craftsmanship gathering dust in the corner of BHF. If I do wear leather boots or a vintage bag – it’s from a charity shop without a doubt or need to run & check in my wardrobe. Don’t forget that the animal support charity shops for example the PDSA do not turn away the leather products generously given to them, but sell them on to help their pledge.

    I adore fashion, but not all parts of the industry, and yes, the promotion of fur trends is a huge slam on the brakes. Of course, there are designers who boycott animal products & although I don’t always jump out of my seat with excitement at their designs, I do have a sense of pride in their ethics; standing against the ignorance of animal products in fashion & removing themselves from the high street replica catch 22 (They won’t spend their budget on leather if the original designer didn’t use it).

    I make my own clothes, using leatherette & faux fur if those are the directions I’m leaning towards. These products are beautiful! Their creators should be commended not criticised about the promotion of trends, I don’t understand why there isn’t as much recognition as there should be in place.


  12. Kelsi Says...

    I’m not often moved to comment on anothers blog, but this is my first foray into your world and I’m very impressed. I love reading thoughts on fashion coming from a thoughtful and intelligent perspective. Your blog is very much a breath of fresh air.

    To the topic at hand, I can’t wear fur, vintage or otherwise. I have been guilty of selling a mohair coat with a fur trim (that I acquired somewhat accidentally) however, in my vintage store, and in order to sell it I had to make all the same excuses to myself that your Aunt most likely made to you.

    But I agree, vintage fur, to me is part of the problem, it just perpetuates a trend. However, I would happily wear a fake fur, I have done (back when I lived in London, not much call for one in Los Angeles) and despite being a vegetarian (only recently mind) I still wear leather.

    My husband on the other hand is also a vegetarian, has been for more than a decade, won’t wear leather, but takes no issue with vintage furs… go figure!

    I think what I’m trying to say is we all draw our own lines with this kind of thing, and that whether one chooses to wear a vintage fur or a fake fur is entirely up to them, I think what we all can agree on is saying no to new fur and the continuation of a completely abhorrent practice in the name of fashion.

    I look forward to reading more from you in the future!

    Kelsi x

  13. Random Fashion Coolness Says...

    Thanks for all these fab, insightful comments. It is lovely to see such intelligent perspectives on what can be a very controversial topic.

Leave a Reply

POP Magazine Partner: Random Fashion Coolness

Partner of POP Magazine

• Blogger for POP Magazine •

AnOther Loves...

Random Fashion Coolness - Flickr Fashion

Topshop UK
Cover Up 150x150
THE OUTNET.COM - The Most Fashionable Fashion Outlet.