This week a client of mine in London sent me a message asking what outfit she should wear on her romantic date with her relatively new man on Valentine's Night. It wasn’t just a taxi to table sort of date on the cards; he’d also suggested a stroll after dinner.
Dinner outfit sorted, she excitably asked can I wear my black fur coat with this outfit? The answer that wanted to come straight from my lips was “Yes! It’s a perfect length and style to finish your whole look, as well as completely practical to stay warm.” But I stalled and enquired, “Why do you ask?”
She wasn’t sure if it was OK to wear real fur and that was exactly why I hesitated to reply instantly to her question.
I need to make one statement very clear before the anti-fur people come crashing down on me for writing this piece and that is, that there should never be any place in fashion where animals have been treated cruelly or inhumanely.
There’s something very sensual about soft and fluffy too the human sense of touch. Is it locked into our psyche as human beings that have evolved from hairy apes? Perhaps we are missing our own personal fur coat that evolution has made us shed and that’s why touching silky soft fur still gives such a sense of pleasure and comfort.
If it is now deemed socially unacceptable to wear real fur then I think we have to say no to faux fur also. Not only is it highly unsustainable, being made from petrochemicals, but it also sheds millions of tiny microfibers that end up in our oceans. Plus it will take centuries to biodegrade. With some of the very best synthetic furs so close to the real thing, it’s very difficult to distinguish faux from real which to me seems to defeat the purpose of banning fur as it is basically saying wearing fur is socially acceptable!
What if your fur item was purchased from a brand that puts animal welfare first and foremost? Perhaps you inherited your fur something and you cherish wearing it which means you don’t need to go out and purchase other items to do the same task. That’s sustainable right there!
And it’s not just fur that should be in this debate. ASOS proudly announced in June 2018 that they were banning products containing Mohair, silk, cashmere and feathers by the end of January 2019. All of these raw materials have examples of animal abuse in the supply chain so if you want to take a stand against fur, it needs to go further. Also when a brand such as ASOS makes this bold ban a statement, customers can come to trust that they are actually buying from an ethical brand. But I did my homework and they are still listing products using these materials, which sadly leaves the onus on the consumer to check the detail of what they are actually buying. Brands really do need to make it much more obvious and easy for a consumer to understand what they are buying. My concept of the colour coded system for clothing is very overdue.
It’s good to be highlighting the fashion supply chain but if we were to take the stance and stop wearing anything derived from animals we also need to take a very significant look at the exploitation of humans who may have made our clothes. It should be socially unacceptable to wear those too.
There is much more to be considered before making your own personal shopping choices and certainly much to be mindful of before passing judgment on others and their clothing choices. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
My stance and advice on whether you can wear real fur today is that it is a personal choice and should remain so. If it is something you already own you should certainly be wearing it. If you are tempted to buy new fur, feather or mohair do some homework on the brand and their policies and if you are stuck drop me an email here!