Today’s controversy: to fur or not to fur
The responsible alternative to real fur
Fake fur is a political statement as much as a fashion statement, it’s a lifestyle for those who claim to prioritize ethics and aesthetics. It looks like faux fur is becoming a trend. However, is it – really? And what will be the future of real fur? Foremost, what’s the role of the fashion industry on the subject? In October Gucci announced that it would go fur free as “it’s not modern…it’s a little bit outdated” stated Marco Bizzarri, chief executive of the brand. This will be a challenging position for the company which strongly relies on Millennials, as they represent half of Gucci’s shoppers. Although many luxury labels no longer use fur, other brands continue to produce fur clothing for a limited amount of wealthy women. Designers like Stella McCartney, a committed vegan who uses leather substitutes for her entire brand, have made ethical and transparent production a key selling point.
Two decades ago, major top models such as Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell started a real battle against fur and animal cruelty, claiming that they’d rather go naked than wear fur. Then how come nowadays it’s looks like we aren’t that much ahead? Today’s most famous models have all walked Fendi’s shows – the Italian top luxury fur maison – without any ethical or moral concern. PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) states that Millennials are more aware of what they buy than 15 years ago – sustainability and transparency on production is a key factor in their buying process. If this was true then, why are they so passive to animal rights campaigns compared to twenty years ago? They are extremely influenced by insta-models and celebrities such as Beyonce, Kim Kardashian or Rhianna who regularly wear fur. Then I ask myself, shouldn’t they – the influential ones – be setting an example to their followers ad admirers?
Lucky us, animal lovers and convinced that we should move forward when it comes to animal cruelty, statistics say that millennials are also turning to faux fur. Yes there is still some hope! Faux fur is now as soft and luxurious as real fur. There have been so many developments and improvements when it comes to sourcing materials with recycled and vegetable fabrics. Besides Stella McCartney and some other brands that we love, Maison Atia is among the top label to know when it comes to faux fur. Founder Chloé Mendel comes from a family of furrier. She grew up in that environment as a young girl, she spent long hours among the lynx and chinchilla pelts in her grandfather’s Paris atelier and later watched her father doing the same. Maison Atia is not an act of rebellion but rather a natural evolution of her own design interests. “I wanted to do something fun and young, and I thought faux fur was so cool,” she says. “It’s just another fabric. I thought, let’s get the best of the best and figure out what to do with it. I don’t think I ever looked at it as the opposite of fur.” Another interesting way of dealing with fur is embedded in Rachel Comey. She is a New York-based designer who has somehow interlinked the two major ideas of faux and real by using fur from animals that have died from natural causes, namely baby alpacas reared for their wool. She works with a tannery in Peru that sources the skins, the leathers come exclusively from the death of baby alpacas (the hard weather in the alpaca-producing zones 12,000 feet above sea level causes the death of 15 per cent of baby alpacas in the first three months of life). Thee way of sourcing materials means that she works on a small scale, ensuring exclusivity – a key word in the luxury market.
So this winter it’s all about the faux fur and if you are looking for some advices here our favorite coats of the season!
Text: Margaux Lombard, December 12th 2017