Many of the Autumn/Winter 2013 collections had one thing in common - the designers used fur. But even though it's in fashion, is it ever okay to wear something an animal had to die for? Colin Dawidziuk investigates different sides of the debate
Seasons come and go, but there's always one constant when it comes to Autumn/Winter collections - fur. These two things go hand in hand, and have done for as long as anyone can remember. Our desires for fur are undoubtedly an instinct from when we were dragging our knuckles behind us during the Ice Age (although back then we probably weren't putting on fashion shows – it would have got in the way of hunter-gathering).
As expected, it was all over the catwalk during fashion month, but let's be honest – is it ever okay to wear fur? What about vintage furs or if the coat is a by-product of an animal killed for its meat?
Designers vary in their stance, with Stella McCartney - who doesn't use any animal products in her collections - heading up the anti side of the debate.
Her most recent activism has centred around those majestic kings of the tundra, the polar bears, and informing us – the fashion-loving public – that a polar bear pelt trades for $10,000 on the world market.
She has spear-headed a petition to urge Prime Minister David Cameron to support upcoming protection laws – something that went viral on Twitter on the day of her AW13 show.
But there were still plenty of designers who happily used fur for their latest creations. Fendi's entire AW13 collection by Karl Lagerfeld was focused around fur, with the tagline "Fendi is Fur" and "Fur is Fendi" attached to the brand's show.
However, beautiful as the collection was, there's no getting away from how many animals are dying for our vanity. The latest statistics? In 2010, 2.5 million minks were killed on fur farms in Canada alone.
So what about vintage fur – is that morally better? This is a common debate, but is still a grey area with people on both sides of the fence.
One view is if it's vintage, you're alright, because even though an animal died, we couldn't have done anything about it (a consequence of not being alive at the time). Still, those with a staunch anti-fur stance will still argue fur is fur and wearing it – regardless of the era it was sourced – is wrong.
Next – fur as a meat by-product. Some major brands – Donna Karan and her DKNY line are prime examples – only use fur if it's a by-product of animal meat, meaning shearling and leathers were all from animals killed for our consumption.
And, again, though that seems okay from a personal point of view, vegetarians and vegans would certainly disagree, and PETA would back them up.
So, things are as blurry as ever when it comes to fur and some designers will never stop using it. But wouldn't it be better if brands were more transparent about how they sourced their pelts? Would you be reassured or it is wrong no matter what? The debate continues – and probably always will.
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