Is it me, or is fur having a fashionable season once again? Fall/winter 2012-2013 must have received some serious weather warnings, because designers across Fashion Month have been going at it fast and fur-iously. It snuck over a shoulder at Pilati’s Yves Saint Laurent, slithered down the front of a Lanvin coat, or played colour-block at Céline. As for the Milanese runways, it is needless to say that no one does fur quite like the Italians these days. It even sparkled as silver tipped mink on Devi Kroell’s evening bags.
Where does fashion stand on fur? Let’s be lucid. For a portion of public opinion, fur may be an unethical material that should not be in the modern woman’s wardrobe. At the hart of the pro/anti debate is the ethical treatment of animals, and the moral stance on what we humans should or shouldn’t do. As a light-hearted fashion site, I don’t believe that it is our role to weigh in on societal questions, and provoke such a debate on what is fundamentally a matter of personal choice.
On a personal level, I can’t deny the attraction. Having grown up in an environment where it was appreciated and considered an item of luxury, it is hard for me not to admire its tactile beauty and the aura of sophistication that it carried with it. Would I wear a full length mink? Probably not, it is not my thing. Do I appreciate a subtly-trimmed hood, a lambskin vest, or shearling booties? Just as much as the next fashion-obsessive. But I have noted that while many collections featured fur in one form or another, it is always quite difficult to know more. Is there an omerta against speaking about the material, and its production as a whole? And under these conditions, is it impossible to have access to information about the standards and regulations that govern the fur trade?
In an industry that uses animal products in all shapes and forms, from wool to silk, to leather to horn, I feel that while the use of fur remains a matter of choice for the designer, the customers who purchase these pieces have a “dollar vote” on how this material, just like any other, is sourced.
I was therefore quite interested when I had the opportunity to preview the upcoming campaign of the IFTF in the November issue of American Vogue (on stands on October 23), featuring some of the season’s key fur looks, and a great entry point to discover the resources they’re making available for those looking for fur information. One such resource is the Fur Insider website, launched in 2011, which aims to become a hub of fur related fashion news and discussions. This is a good thing, not for the fashion spread, but to raise awareness about an industry that has suffered from the bad reputation it acquired with the raise in animal right activism since the late 90s, and that is very widely used in the industry today, from the full-on fur coat, right down to the fleece in the latest pair of Uggs.Credit : 1, 2, 3, 6 NowFashion.com; 4, 5 Style.com; 7, 8 IFTF promotion in Vogue November 2012