I grew up in the 90s surrounded by shell suits and jeans with Flintstones characters printed on the legs. I remember I had my favourite blue shell suit trousers with Adidas printed down the leg so large it went from my hip down to my feet.They were truly awful but, at the time, I loved them and wore them almost every day.
As a 90s teenager that was easily influenced, I recall an anti-fur campaign entitled 'I would rather be naked than wear fur'. It featured a number of high profile models including Naomi Campbell. Upon researching the campaign further I vowed that I would never wear fur. Some of my girlfriends went a step further, refusing to wear leather shoes, use cosmetics that may contain animal products, or eat animal products of any kind. They lived on lentils and wore plastic alternative shoes to school. I can't remember now but, thinking back, they must have had some pretty sweaty feet!
To this day I don't wear fur. Although I don't have anything against people wearing it as I believe it's totally a personal choice. There is, however, one thing about fur I can't deny - it's making a comeback, and in a major way. And perhaps this is why Naomi Campbell has started wearing it again a number of years after the campaign she starred in.
According to recent reports worldwide sales of fur went up in 2012 by over $1 billion compared to 2011, reaching a huge $15 billion. During London Fashion Week in February this year close to 200 designers used fur in their collections and approximately 500 designers, including Diane von Furstenberg, Yves Saint Laurent, Marni, Matthew Williamson and Roberto Cavalli, all use fur.
The popularity of fur is highlighted further by the likes of Kate Moss, Carine Roitfeld and Agyness Deyn, who have all been photographed wearing it. In fact, one could say that fur is now a regular front row guest in the world of fashion.
There is clearly plenty of support for fur in fashion, but there are also those who are strongly against its use. PETA are a key organization that speak out against the use of fur in fashion and runs campaigns against its use. I recently received this video from PETA about the use of fur in fashion.
WARNING - This video contains strong content that some people may find offensive or upsetting.
Protests against the use of fur go well beyond online media and marketing; designers that have used fur in their collections have been targeted for doing so by anti fur campaigns for many years. In 2008 Donna Karan was targeted by animal rights campaigners who spray-painted the road outside her Hamptons home.
Image Source - PETA
A friend of mine has an interesting view on fur. She wears vintage fur but won't purchase new fur products. This raises an interesting point; the animal was originally killed to create the item (in my friend's case, a scarf made from fox fur), most likely during a time when it was generally deemed more acceptable. Her argument is that it's better to wear the scarf rather than bin it, which would be a waste and mean that the fox died in vain.
There are of course some excellent quality faux furs too. I personally own a number of items that use faux and, for me, these offer an alternative to the real thing that provides a similar, but guilt-free, effect.
It's clear that the use of real fur in fashion ignites strong emotions for those that are for or against its use, and I did consider not writing this piece for that very reason. But I do believe that such topics should be open to conversation.
When all is said and done, it is ultimately the consumer that will decide the success of real fur in the fashion industry. But, for me personally, I will continue to fake it.
What are your thoughts about in fur in fashion? Are you pro or anti? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Useful links regarding this topic:
British Fur Trade - http://www.britishfur.co.uk
PETA - http://www.peta.org.uk