The Dead One
‘Slain pelts slung carelessly over one shoulder, the scent of murderous guilt hidden in the glare of the full moon, Glazed eyes awake even in death, sacrificed for the sake of fashion,Lips bared in a snarl, a grimace if you will, hoping for one last meal to sate its deathly lips,Plucked from its home the howls become louder, a blood stained legacy to nurture its motherless children, Orphaned cubs and skinned rabbits-one represents death, the other represents the living,In the circle of life only the hunters remain and the hunted lay among the corpses, a feast to the gods who so cruelly took them’
Throughout the course of history, fur denoted lineage, class, rank and prosperity. Seen as a status symbol, the nouveux riche flocked in their thousands to purchase pelts, fur coats to not only stave off the cold but also as a decadent statement of their wealth and prosperity. By the end of the nineteenth century fur became readily available to citizens of all social classes and Révillon Frères capitalized on the increasing demand for ‘affordable’ ready to wear fur garments. Révillon Frères set up fur boutiques in France, London, New York and Montreal, introducing fur as a staple wardrobe item to mainstream cultural and aesthetic values.
New techniques of curating fur developed in the 21st century to appeal to a modern street-style led audience whose call for hybrid textures and brighter colours resulted in designers permenantly changing the image of the fur industry forever. Between 2003-2004 over 170 designers worked with fur and by 2010 more than 400 international designers were working with fur in their collections. (Fur Information Council of America, 2010; Goddard, 2011; Kastorian Fur, 2004; Tortora & Eubank, 2010, p. 585, 634). But not all consumers were delighted at the clear prospect of animal cruelty and organisations like PETA investigated into the so-called ethically sourced fur that designers were manufacturing. As with all mass-produced products designers lacked ethical understanding unable to establish how exploiting animals for consumerist consumption was wrong.
In 2014 the International Fur Trade Federation stated that 60% of shows featured ‘real’ fur and that 27 million profit was generated worldwide, a statistic that would make any animal lovers stomach churn. As an advocate for social rights I refuse to wear ‘real’ fur on the grounds that I am uncomfortable wearing unethical clothing for the sake of fashion and this is what I do not understand. With the production of faux fur why are consumers still turning to real fur? The ITF claim that the ‘opulence’ of real fur outweighs all other materials and its luxurious appeal is related to cultural values. They argue that many Asian and North American civilizations still wear fur because it is seen as a cultural symbol of wealth and measures their prospects as a bride or groom.
Regardless of cultural values wearing fur is – in my opinion- selfish, where endangered species and other animals are denied any expression of natural behaviour and are forced into habitats that are removed from their natural surroundings. Animals raised in fur farms develop abnormal traits in their caged homes with many causing self-mutilation, resorting to canibalism or sitting in their own urine and faecees. Many are killed via gassing, decompression chambers, neck snapping or electrocution through the mouth and anus. This is no way to live, animals by nature are outdoor animals and to be confined in habitats where they are stripped of their basic rights is to be quite frank disgusting.
I am ashamed that consumers still think it is right to wear real fur despite their knowledge of the cruelty that animals are faced with but I do accept that we are entitled to freedom of choice. If fur is seen as a cultural symbol it is because the citizens have been aclimatized into thinking it is a way of life but they too have the choice to reject their cultural upbringing and fight for the absolution of animal rights. 2015 was the year that consumers fought back and according to a study 95% of consumers are against real fur because it is ‘unethical’ ‘socially frowned upon’ and ‘selfish’.When 95% of consumers are against ‘real fur’ retailers know that they have to adapt to this new ethos and many challenged the fur agenda by banning fur trade and replacing it with faux fur production.
In part mass consumerism has been responsible for the production of fur trade and major exports include Russia and China who export trade to countries like Britain where ‘fur farming’ is illegal. Their audience is predominantly between 40-60 with the younger generation avoiding real fur because ‘their awareness of animal rights’ have opened their eyes to the cruel treatment of animals killed for fur production. Organizations like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have curated videos that offer a deeper insight into fur farming practices worldwide and has enlisted the help of celebrities like ‘Pink’ and ‘Ricky Gervais ‘ and sympathetic designers Stella McCartney and Vienne Westwood to lend their voices to anti-fur ads that assist in ‘fur shaming’. Celerbrity rapport has increased the demand for blacklisting fur exports and maintaining the production of faux fur instead.
With consumers having more choice than ever to choose to be pro or anti fur the production of fur trade is slowly decreasing. What are your thoughts are you against fur production or are you comfortable with wearing fur?
* Please note I am actively against wearing fur but please post an honest comment about your thoughts on the fur industry and whether you are pro or anti fur as I am willing to listen to all debates .
Sunglasses: Quay Australia
Faux Fur Scarf: Missguided
Turtleneck & Boots: Primark
Jeans & Coat: Topshop