TO FUR OR NOT TO FUR

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That is the question!

 

Fur remains THE most controversial material used in fashion.  Here’s a confession ……I have never bought a fur coat and probably never will.

 

Although I am a consumer of animals, I don’t believe that setting boundaries, limits or making selective choices makes me a hypocrite.  It just makes me a bit contradictory, which is fine.

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THINGS YOU CAN WEAR IN ITALY : FUR

I was about to call this post “Things you can wear in Italy”, because fur is nowhere near as taboo here as it is in North America or elsewhere. Modena is an incredibly humid city in the wintertime and real fur coats are in abundance from October to March on women (and men) from 16 to 99 years old. They are excellent at keeping the humid chill at bay and their wear and use have ancient origins here.

The fur trade in Italy is still a much respected profession and people invest upwards of 3,000 euro to buy themselves a coat and then maintain it for years….and by years I mean a lifetime, and by a lifetime I mean multiple generations.  I know women who have the furs of their grandmothers, still in perfect condition.

 

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But what am I getting at here?

I’m getting at the fact that the world already has enough fur coats!  If you go to any decent consignment, thrift or vintage store you will always be able to find a good variety of real fur from rabbit and mink to fox.  If you are just DYING to wear fur why not recycle something that has already been made into a new design.

This was my mother’s mink coat when she was a young woman.  It is in perfect condition, and I LOVE IT.  It is so warm, soft and glamorous.  I take incredible care storing it away each year and I can easily say it is one of my most valuable possessions both from a monetary and sentimental perspective.

 

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In a way I am grateful that I live in Modena and can wear this out of the house without being pepper-sprayed in the eyes!!  I have brought it with me to Paris and Germany on various trips but would never wear it in North America!

 

I love fur.  I do.

 

But I just cannot bring myself to purchase a new fur coat, especially one that is cheap, meaning cheaply produced and with most likely VERY unethical means.  Also, I find it hard to think about cute fluffy animals that are killed for their skin. I mean, they are cute!

 

Fur is a LUXURY COMMODITY

 

Fur is a luxury product and SHOULD come at a luxury price.  Lest we forget that my livelihood and the livelihood of my entire family is based on exotic leather accessories.  But alligator, crocodile and python leathers ARE EXPENSIVE….I mean mind boggaling expensive.

Their leather is not a bi-product of the food industry, they are killed for their skin and because of that they are a “precious commodity”.  Did I mention that we primarily  use exotic leather from animals that caught in the wild.

 

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This is a catch 22!  Because alligators are so valuable (from a luxury goods perspective) they are protected and so is their habitat.  They need huge amounts of space to live their lives AND the better they live, the more beautiful their skin and the more valuable it is! Meaning, commerce WANTS these animals to live free lives in their natural habitats because in this way they become more valuable. All leathers are sold based on grades of quality, the more perfect the skin the more expensive the leather.  

 

Animals raised only for fur coats are not so lucky!

 

 

Shearling? Sure Thing!

As is normal for me, I always have a million different projects on the go.  This month I’m launching the men’s line I’ve been working on with my husband for the past THREE YEARS!!  Plus, I am continuing to work on my own women’s line which will hopefully be ready before 2017 (if I’m lucky!).  The line will be primarily leather bags and accessories but I’m also thinking about a few sartorial coat designs and was contemplating the idea of fur collars or feather accents.

 

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Cheap fur means I’ll have to use foxes or raccoons (which by the way, are 99% of all the “Made in China” fur coats!).  Rabbit fur or shearling are both bi-products of the food industry, so they could be an option, but still some people go crazy.

However, I HAVE noticed that no one protests all of the people wearing UGGS, which are SHEEP SKIN, not just sheep’s wool…it IS THEIR SKIN! How is this different from fur?

 

It isn’t!

And leather isn’t different from fur – it is all animal skin.  The only thing that can be said to justify some leather/fur is that some animals are killed because we eat them, and it makes sense to consume their entire bodies.  I don’t know how to say this in a more elegant way.

 If you eat meat than you are in some way contributing to the leather (goat, cow, horse), fur (rabbit) and shearling (sheep) industry.

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Fur vs. Feathers

So my other option for a bit of a glam decoration on the coats was FEATHERS!   Feathers are fun!   Feathers are guilt and cruelty free!

Oh really?

This weekend I did a lot of research into the feather industry because I’m currently loving ostrich feathers (which for those who don’t know , Ostriches are also a part of the food chain, especially in Italy and other European countries).

 

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In the feather industry they do not kill the birds for their feathers, they simply pluck them.

Alive.

They pluck them alive!!! Poor things!

 

Then they let the feathers re-grow and then they pluck them again.  FOR THEIR WHOLE LIVES.

 

The animals are not sedated, they suffer.

 

So now.  What about everyone who has a “down filled” coat.  Those are from geese who were brutally plucked ALIVE! I know vegans who would never eat an egg, but have down filled coats and have never stopped to think about where their warm coat came from. Does anyone remember the scandal surrounding luxury fashion brand MONCLER two years ago.  An Italian news agency put secret cameras in the company making their coats and recorded the brutal treatment of the geese…their stocked instandtly dropped, but no one talks about it anymore.  Those coats sell for over 1,000 euro EACH and the Italian program can be seen online here (It is in Italian, so I suggest skipping ahead to 3:00!).

 

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All I’m trying to get at is my own personal way of coming to conclusions about what I will consume/purchase and what I won’t.

 

The Answer Is Not Polyester

One of the arguments that I hate against using real fur or leather as opposed to “syntetic” is that it is better for the animals and environment to use synthetic materials.

 

Oh REALLY?

 

You mean that synthetic fabric for your faux fur coat, your pleather bag or your eco-friendly (whatever that means) shoes DIDN’T HAVE AN IMPACT ON ANIMALS AND THE ENVIRONMENT?

Where do you think that fabric came from, the magic textile fairy?

It’s a product of crude oil. Petrol makes plastic which makes polyurethane which makes synthetic materials.

 

The petrol industry is single handedly destroying the entire planet Earth including the decimation of plenty of natural habitats, the clear-cutting of forests, the irreversible pollution of bodies of water, the warming of the planet leaving polar bears starving even in the middle of winter.

 

fur, #fur, luxury fur, thrifted fur, should I wear fur, should you wear fur, should you wear fake fur, should you wear faux fur, is fake fur better than real fur, does fake fur hurt the environment, where does fur come from, where do feathers come from, what is shearling, where does shearling come from, where does leather come from, where does alligator leather come from, fur debate, leather debate , should vegetarians wear fur, down filled coats, are down filled coats bad

fur, #fur, luxury fur, thrifted fur, should I wear fur, should you wear fur, should you wear fake fur, should you wear faux fur, is fake fur better than real fur, does fake fur hurt the environment, where does fur come from, where do feathers come from, what is shearling, where does shearling come from, where does leather come from, where does alligator leather come from, fur debate, leather debate , should vegetarians wear fur, down filled coats, are down filled coats bad

 

 

In Conclusion

 

I don’t think that the over consumption of plastic derived fast fashion items is any more or any less damaging to animals as a fur coat!  I do think, however, that as a society we always look for a way to justify our choices and we are not encouraged enough to RECYCLE !  Not just your bottle of water, but your grandmother’s fur!

 

CLEAN IT, FIX IT, WEAR IT.

 

Wear it for a lifetime and see how many cheap “faux” coats you save the environment.

 

 

            Now onto YOUR style…

 

#REASONSTODRESS Street Style Linkup

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Links à la Mode, February 4

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  • RedTagChicLA

    Faux fur -SURE but not real fur! This is a very informative article – Have a great week!

    Rebecca
    http://www.redtagchiclosangeles.com

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  • http://www.amyscreativepursuits.com Amy Johnson

    Very interesting post. I have no problems with anyone wearing a vintage fur, but no, I wouldn’t buy a real fur. The ostrich feather issue is awful. I had no idea! And I agree with you about Uggs. I would never wear them.

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  • Michelle Tyler

    Bravo! Such an amazing piece Angie – Simple explanations with complete honesty, just brilliant.
    I am gutted about the goose feathers, I hadn’t known that & sleep on down pillows & quilts. So they won’t be re-newed that’s for sure.
    You’re right about the fur hypocrisy, it’s confusing how people who have such strong views on all fur garments can still wear shearling or leather. I know of ethical fur companys, we have a brilliant one here called Tallis who among other things recycle old furs & cashmere.
    Naturally I loathe the mistreatment of animals but eat their meat & wear their skins. Therefore I only ever buy organic free range food & do my best to identify the source of my clothing.
    As you say buying 2nd hand or vintage is the easiest & best way to achieve this.
    As an aside – we don’t eat Macdonalds or buy frozen chicken nuggets etc from the supermarket. My kids couldn’t care less, they don’t miss it in fact they’ll tell you they don’t like it ’cause it’s not real food! 😉
    Mx

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  • Happinessatmidlife

    You bring up so many good points about fur or any other similar use of animals for clothing. I have zero need for a real fur coat but I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying one that’s used if they last a lifetime.

    Thank you for hosting and hope you are having a fab week!

    Alice

    http://www.happinessatmidlife.com

    Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.

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  • http://www.gofashiondeals.com GoFashiondeals

    Wonderful post! very informative! My mom gave me a leather coat, but it doesn’t fit, I am thinking about having it altered. No sense in buying a new one if I have one and it is too hot here really for a lot of coats. If I were to buy fur I would definitely go consignment shopping for one.

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  • http://livingoutsidethestacks.com Daenel T

    I don’t wear real but that’s because I live in the south and it’s a bit too warm. I do have a faux fur vest though but, again, the south. My mother still has her real fur coats that she bought when we lived in Italy. They’re carefully stored at her house because she lives in Mississippi. I, personally, don’t have an issue with real. I do have a problem with people using violence to get their point across. Or people who eat meat, wear leather, etc. but then get mad over fur. Seriously?

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  • http://www.dousedinpink.com Jill

    This was such an informative post and you bring up so many good points! If you want to wear real fur I agree that you should try to repurpose and hunt for one in a resale or consignment shop.

    Jill
    Doused In Pink

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  • Max Hansen

    Super nice coat, it deserves an elegant skirt, if you have this?

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  • http://marymurnane.com/ Mary Murnane

    Such a gorgeous coat, Incredible hand-me-down from your mother. Great post!

    – xox Mary
    http://www.marymurnane.com

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  • http://comoperderseenespana.wordpress.com/ Ashley @ Cómoperderse enEspaña

    Interesting take on the fur argument, I’m into it, especially here in Europe where furs are still popular. Why not pass down expensive furs between family members if you’re really into having one? I’ve been against down everything for as long as I can remember, because of this…it’s awful.

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  • http://garaytreasures.com Rachel Garay

    I do love your point here, yes I say recycle too.
    Looking lovely and even glamourous in this one.

    Thank you for linking up to “Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me”

    Rachel xo

    http://garaytreasures.com

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  • Andy

    Great post and although I have nothing against real fur and think it looks great on you, I think you wrote a great post here :)

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