To Fur or Not To Fur? That is the question.
For decades, we've debated the ethics of the fur industry. For those who wholly oppose the breeding of animals for the use of their fur, we've developed synthetic furs and leathers.
So where are we now? And what's the latest on the subject?
Here's are the top 5 things I've considered:
1. Production involves 'harvesting' animals.
If you're not supportive of this reality, then stay away from fur altogether. Even recycled/vintage fur was at one point, new fur. The animals are raised, skinned, and then composted, mainly for the production of fur fashion products.
2. Not all fur is created equal.
As with all industries, there are governance bodies and organizations that promote best practices. Origin Assured provides consumers with information, and a list of retailers by country that are notably compliant with local fur production practices and regulations. If you want comfort over the production of your fur (not a bad idea given the importance of quality, production method, and the ensuring the value of your investment), you would benefit from checking it out the website, and learning more about the furrier that you are buying from.
3. Beware 'vegan' leathers and furs.
My moment of enlightenment here actually came when shopping with a good friend. He scoffed at a vegan leather belt and said "How is this better for the planet?!" When considering vegan leathers and furs, you really need to question the nature of the synthetic material being used. Unless it's made from recycled materials, it requires new materials which come with their own environmental impact. Plastic, polyester, nylon and other common synthetic materials are made from petroleum, a product of oil refinement, which is not only energy-intensive, it's not biodegradable, and non-renewable as a resource. Take a couple of extra moments to really understand the material being used if you're opting for vegan products. You may not like the production process when it comes to fur, but it is a natural, biodegradable and renewable resource.
4. Don't rush your purchase.
If you've decided to buy a fur, look into the type of fur itself, the construction, dyes used, and the history and tenure of the furrier. Here's a good place to start with tips and retailers. As with all other fashion purchases, you need to set aside some time and money to properly clean and store your fur.
5. Fur is a good investment.
If you've satisfied yourself with the notion of wearing fur products, the very simple answer is that fur is a good investment. When you source from a quality furrier and avoid trendy pieces, then a good fur will last you many, many years. You can also restyle your fur, and pass it down to future generations. One of my favourite Canadian furriers is Harricana par Mariouche. Canadian furriers rock. Whether you like it or not, we put the fur industry on the map and have a deep history in the trade and tradition. Mariouche is known for her recycled, stylish furs. I was first introduced to her collection at Montreal Fashion Week, some years ago. The photos below were taken with my 'vintage' Blackberry Bold, February 2013 ;)
Feature Photo Credit (at very top): Harricana by Mariouche
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 Canada License.