Monday, 22 February 2010

Fur - the debate gets heated

With the New York shows in the bag, London Fashion Week drawing to an end and Paris on the horizon designers are planting the seeds for 2010's winter trends. Never mind front row A-listers, there is one tag-along going from designer to designer and fashion capital to capital that just won't go away. And tag-along it shall, because this winter the message is clear - fur is well and truly back in fashion.

But I'm not talking about the mock versions from New Look and co that have warmed the backs of teenagers throughout this winter's big chill. This is the real deal, fox, mink, bunnies and all.

When searching 'fur' on, over 20 designers pop up who have used animal pelts in their autumn/winter 2010 collections. After the wave of 'eco fashion' that swept 2009 it seems the recession has hardened our hearts; who needs a moral conscience when the global economy is in disarray? We have more important things to worry about now than our hippy concerns of the noughties.

Fur has been making a comeback ever since Anna Wintour deemed it Vogue-worthy. In the 'September Issue' she is asked if there is still a way to wear fur. "Personally I have it on my back" was her response. Other fashion figures are plugging the trend too, from Victoria Beckham to Kate Moss. We now wouldn't even bat an eyelid seeing celebrities wearing what was once deemed outdated and cruel.

It is clear that many people will have strong opinions about this controversial trend. Designers such as Stella Mcartney have long since shunned fur in favour of more ethical choices, and anti fur campaigners will no doubt have something to say.

The fur debate puts the ethics of fashion into the limelight, something that tends to be ushered into the background of this multi-billion dollar industry.

Top image: Fur on the catwalk of 3.1 Phillip Lim
Above: Acne's interpretation of the trend
Julien Macdonald's snuggly white interpretation.

Marc Jacobs embraces fur.

Thakoon's latest collection sees fur taking centre stage. An average fur coat takes around 20-80 animals to make, depending on the size of the creature.
Many models have campaigned against fur with PETA, (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation).

I personally would never wear fur, mainly I must admit, because I could never afford it, but also because I would find it creepy.

However that doesn't mean to say I can't see the allure of fur. When I was in Paris last week the weather was Arctic and as I walked down the Champs Elysees numb and shivering I saw many women wrapped up in real fur coats. And I knew I shouldn't, but I couldn't help wishing I too was cuddled up underneath that snuggly warmth.

Admist the to fur or not to fur debate, I find myself struggling with the hypocrisy that often arises. Many people object to fur yet find no problem with leather. And with leather appearing more frequently on the runway and not just on our feet this comparison is even more apparent. Also I think people find it easy to become sentimental when it comes to animals, yet they find it easy to ignore (in my opinion) bigger issues. That £1 t-shirt from Primark? Can you really expect the person who made it to have been paid a fair price? Child labour, poor working conditions, not to mention the global impact of the shipping and production of our clothes... If we're going to argue about fur, why not get these issues out in the open too?