In My View
During Fashion Week 2008, when high-end designers such as Charlotte Ronson joined a list of almost two dozen other fur-free labels such as Betsey Johnson, Marc Bouwer, Ralph Lauren, Nicole Miller, Calvin Klein and Stella McCartney, fashion columnists saw a fur-free campaign bandwagon afloat. “Using fur in 2008 just isn’t cool or modern,” New York-based Ronson cooed.
In July of 2015, Fendi hosted “haute fourrure,” the first fur-only extravaganza by a major design label during the Paris haute couture shows. It coincided with Karl Lagerfelds 50-year anniversary with the brand. These days Lagerfeld makes keychains out of real fur, but 20 years ago, opposition to using real fur fueled the fake fur trends—fabrics made of acrylic or other synthetic fibers, and Lagerfeld was persuaded to mix up fakes, real furs and fabric, sometimes in the same apparel. As fashion columnists noted, it was impossible to tell which was which. “It really doesn’t matter anymore,” Lagerfeld said. “Real furs often look like fakes.”
And that is the crux of the problem. The fur industry is literally banking on consumers to buy dead animal skins or anything that resembles them, so that fur in general stays relevant, rather than unnecessary, indulgent and an affront to non-human animals. The industry wants designers to feel that in 2015, it is suddenly cool and modern to use fur.
Sadly, Stella McCartney has fallen right into the fur industry’s trap. No pun intended.
McCartney, who has been celebrated for shunning fur—real and fake—launched her #Winter15 collection of fake fur monstrosities, long-haired synthetic coats with a label “Fur Free Fur.”
When asked, with vegan fashion on the rise, why she’d market a fake fur that looks like real fur, McCartney said something strange about speaking to younger women who don’t want real fur, “So I feel like maybe things have moved on, and it’s time, (to) use fabrics which look like fur, if we take them somewhere else.”
As FoA’s 24-year-old Meg McIntire said: “To the untrained eye (98 percent of society), who’s going to know if your Stella McCartney fur-ball studded sweater is real or fake? People will make assumptions and many will lean toward believing you’re wearing animal skin, which, regardless of your intentions, makes you a walking billboard for the fur industry.”
That’s not something McIntire believes young women her age are striving for.
Since real fur can now be easily camouflaged in a vast sea of faux-fur, designers are hoping it will be less likely for them to be confronted for showing indifference to suffering fur-bearing animals. Interestingly, in the July 3 New York Times article, “Fur is Back in Fashion and Debate,” the reporter noted that the majority of designers who have made fur a runway star again don’t want to talk about it. He writes: “That’s the curious state of fur in 2015: So many people seem happy to sell it and show it, but nobody wants to talk about it.”
Which is music to our ears. Because that means underneath all the hype from the fur industry … it’s still not cool or modern to wear fur. And FoA would like to add that in 2015 it’s not cool to wear fake fur either.
Each winter FoA displays prominent billboard ads in the heart of the fur industry, New York City, to remind consumers that fur is a sick, blood-drenched business that murders animals with no moral justification. We’ll launch another fur campaign this winter, focusing on next-generation designers like 32-year-old Jason Wu, who opines that animal fur is an all-season fabric. His spring 2016 collection includes a pink fox fur powder-puff coat.