Fur is Back – Big Time!
Why is fur back on the runway, quite without shame? Perhaps it never really went away; perhaps it was just upstaged by negative publicity by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)*. I suspect PETA put it’s precious paw in its mouth one too many times by offending consumers with distasteful, sexist advertising aimed at destroying the fur industry. There are documented reasons (and I’ll review them later in the article), but the fact remains, designers and merchandisers were not swayed by the consumer activist’s remonstrative campaigns.
If They Can Design It, They Can Make It
The fall fashion trends for winter include lots of fur clothing and accessories. Fur collars, cuffs, hat’s, handbags, dresses even shoes and jewelry are being embellished with mink, fox and chinchilla.
“Fur is the big fashion story of the Autumn/Winter collections” comments Andy Lenhart, Chairman of the International Fur Trade Federation. Last season’s cold winter and fashion conscious consumer markets from around the world fueled increased sales.
New York’s “Runway Report” calls fur one the season’s most important trends.
Who Is Buying Fur?
Fashion conscious consumers particularly in the Far East and cold-weather countries are buying fur garments and accessories. Consumers say the number one reason for buying a fur garment is that it keeps them warm. Fur does have extraordinary insulating properties unrivaled by any other fabric, natural or otherwise. Nothing really comes close to the warmth generated by a fur coat, collar or hat. Couple that with the fact that fur is a green-minded product and it’s easy to see why fashionable fur garments are in demand. The market has actually grown despite the negative ad campaigns against the industry.
400 Designers and Growing
Savvy environmentally responsible designers including Helen Yarmak, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Jeremy Scott, Adrienne Landau and Oscar De La Renta are excited about new techniques developed within the fur industry that allow them to use fur more creatively. The pelts are now much lighter (although just as warm) than in the past, allowing for more flexibility and easier construction.
We’re even seeing fur trimmed booties.
Why is Fur a “Responsible” Choice for Today’s Consumers?
With the uptrend in fur fashion promotion and sales, one may wonder whether fur is a “responsible” choice.
In a study titled “Environmental Consequences of Textile Marketing” undertaken at Oregon State University in 1997 a broad range of textiles including wool, leather, fur, cotton, silk, linen, rayon, polyester, nylon and acrylic were evaluated across a number of environmental variables. The following facts were presented:
1- Fake fur utilizes non-renewable petroleum-based resources that are toxic and non-biodegradable. Real fur, on the other hand, may be considered the “green” alternative as it is a renewable, sustainable resource. Both farmed and wild fur outperformed all other textiles in sustainability across all environmental criteria.
2. “Shock Value” materials presented by animal rights activist have been proven to be false propaganda against the legitimate fur industry which is highly regulated to maintain “good nutrition, comfortable housing and prompt veterinary care” for all fur bearing farm-raised animals. Farms are on par with other qualified organic farming enterprises.
3- The international fur trade does not trade in endangered species and all furs used by the trade are abundant.
4- Wildlife biologists and wildlife management officials agree that fur bearers are so abundant in the U.S. today that overpopulation poses a threat to their own welfare.
The fur industry does acknowledge everyone’s right to choose whether to wear, or eat animal products. The point being made is that there is little or no distinction between the two. The fur industry advocates all organic, humane farming for all consumer markets.
Vintage Fur – Another Big Seller
Today, fur garments are considered to be luxury items because of their cost, but used items are out there for sale and auction on eBay. You may even find a treasured mink stole in your grandmother's closet (or hidden in a fur fault!). Wearing a vintage fur garment may be more acceptable to those who still have reservations about supporting the active fur industry. Whatever you prefer, the fact remains, fur is great for the fashion conscious individual…and a fur collar, hat, scarf, jacket or coat will keep you warm on the coldest winter days.
*PETA is an organization of animal activists whose causes include promoting the end of fur and leather use, meat and dairy consumption, fishing, hunting, trapping, factory farming, bullfighting and circuses.