Now I know most of you upon reading that headline will already be screaming “Fur is cruel!” and writing me off as some sort of selfish airhead who has no idea about the illegal fur trade or animal cruelty, however, please hear me out…
I am instead talking about Vintage fur… now again, some of you may be thinking that I am suggesting that because ‘Vintage’ is now oh-so-cool that all of a sudden it is okay to throw a dead animal around your neck, but that is slightly sideways of what I would like to discuss here. I am talking about vintage, as in it was killed years ago, so therefore does it really matter if it is continued to be worn?
I know that there will be differences of opinion here, I know that some people would be of the opinion that it is like saying “What’s the point in being a vegetarian if the meat is already on the supermarket shelves?”. I understand that situation is a case of supply and demand. And although it may be on the shelf already, to buy it creates a demand that will be fulfilled by further produce. But this is slightly different. Fur is taboo. No longer is the fur of exotic creatures adorning the designers rails because there is demand, it is off limits, and only utilised by those seeking controversy.
So, in my opinion, and feel free to disagree, to buy an item that was made years ago that is made of fur doesn’t really contribute to the fur trade. Indeed, I feel that to consign this item to the scrap pile just because it is made of fur would be an even further waste than the original destruction of life for fashion – and really, if you’re going to go down that pious route, then surely leather should be off limits too? And yet the question of leather only seems to surface for those most dedicated of Vegetarians and Vegans.
“What has brought this question up?” you may ask… Well I came across this two piece suit which is trimmed with real mink:
The suit itself was made of a thicker synthetic fabric and the styling was very 80s/90s so it really didn’t appeal to me. The main reason I took this photo was to discuss the fur issue.
Now, I think that the type of fur that has been included on the garment is very important to the question “To wear or not to wear”. If this were the fur of an endangered species, then I feel different treatment should be awarded, I personally wouldn’t buy it and I would possibly want to notify somebody of it’s whereabouts, though I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea where to start.
However, this garment includes mink fur, and from my limited research on this, I know that mink fur is farmed in the EU. The animals have been the focus of some media attention for their treatment over the years, and the EU accounts for 63% of global mink fur production, and 70% of global fox fur production. The fact that this fur is farmed, for me, places it in a similar category to leather or meat. I think that there is emotive quality to the subject of fur for fashion, the legacy of wild, hunted fur is still raw, and with many species fighting extinction, to kill something just for the purposes of fashion seems disgustingly frivolous.
Personally, a vintage mink fur item, I would buy this, and I wouldn’t feel guilty. I would be able to justify my purchase to someone who didn’t agree, and I wouldn’t mind that they didn’t agree, they are entitled to their opinion. There is the other issue that this item would raise £35 for charity, principally because of it’s fur content. Remove the fur and this item would barely touch £10.
I was once given a gorgeous vintage fur shrug by my BFs mother. It was in turn her mother’s and is a beautiful heirloom, something to be treasured and passed on. It died a long time ago, when attitudes towards fur were very different. I couldn’t tell you what fur it is, but again, I would wear it, and I will wear it for special occasions. I treasure it for what it means, to be entrusted with something so exquisite, that embodies the memory of a very special lady, a memory that is treasured means more than the issue of fur ever will.
It is the history that vintage garments take with them that is so special, and so that is why I think that fur, if vintage, shouldn’t pose an ethical question for the person that wants to buy it.
Feel free to disagree, I would welcome your comments.