The Vent

Eco Fur

9 months ago by

Eco Fur

Fur is a charged subject.

Growing up, fur was something women in my family gasped out loud about. My grandparents both had big fur hats, hellooooo soviet comrade past, my grandma had a fur coat, so did my aunt. It was a measure of success, a legacy of the years lived.

I knew very well how to tell a real fur from a synthetic one. While I didn’t have a full on fur coat myself, my mom would always make sure to get me a down jacket with a fur lining on the collar.

I surely understood it was made out of real animals, but even though I consider myself a fauna lover, I allowed myself to ignore the obvious fact of where this fluffy luxurious material was coming from. But, I don’t think anyone at this point has wiggle-room to be ignorant about it, so my views on it have changed since then.

But, the fur debate doesn’t end here. Many luxury fashion giants stated they will not be using animal fur any longer, instead, capitalizing solely on faux fur items. But, there’s a different camp of thinkers, who won over multiple pages of advertisement in American Vogue to agitate how wonderful real fur is for you, for me, for the planet. It’s just great, you know. Now, that was not something I subscribed to when I bought the already-iconic 2018 September issue with Beyonce on the cover. I kindly hid my anger, as well as the issue itself. I needed a minute to ruminate on it.

Luckily, there are people who did that and more. In the recent years, a lot of great articles came out like this one by Alden Wicker for Refinery29, which address the issues associated with both real fur, as well as its faux counterparts. Truth be told, faux fur appears to be just as bad as the real version.

Then there’s this piece in the New York Times, about the legacy fur represents for black women. It speaks really well to the emotional ties we all have with fur. This fuzzy coat represents wealth, and marks one’s place in society as a respectable and deserving individual. So, to figure out this problem we might have to change where we put our values.

There is however a grey area, like buying a secondhand fur coat, upcycled pieces, or, and finally we’re getting to the damn title of this article, a so-called eco-fur. This term is thrown around in all kinds of wrong places, like calling faux – eco. Faux might be ethical to animals, but it’s not anywhere close to eco, since it’s just plastic, plain and simple.

My cousin introduced me to eco-fur. She got herself a coat from a small Ukrainian brand that advertises their fluff to be cruelty free. They use sheared fur from sheep, without killing an animal – weaving said sheared fur onto fabric to avoid using animal skins.

When she told me this little company that operates off of Instagram does it, I was so excited and assured I’ll easily find a young niche brand that uses that same technology here in the US, or an alpaca-fur startup in Peru, or a landmark company in Scotland. C’mon there are a lot of sheep in Scotland, no?!

In all of my digging, I found one gem. Literally. A coat created by designer Stine Sandermann from Denmark, through this article on The Unapologists. It’s real, but no animals were harmed in production of this coat. I reached out to Stine via Instagram, and she kindly offered to lend the piece for me to photograph. I was sad to discover that it was only a prototype, you can’t buy this unicorn of a coat anywhere. Although, feel free to check out other amazing designs Stine makes out of waste and upcycled materials.

Fur is complicated, man!

Where do you stand in this debate? Comment away x

11 comments

Add yours
  • I love the idea of this fun new “eco-fur,” but I think people’s anger towards fur is unusual. The same people who swear off animal pelts eat meat, wear leather shoes, and sleep on down pillows. Fur is just a more visceral reminder that the product is from an animal, but that doesn’t necessarily make it more cruel.

    Any social media post with a fur coat, and every comment cries, “I hope it’s fake!” But I never see any complaints on the millions of photos with leather bags and shoes and sneakers, shearling jackets and Ugg boots. This faux-outrage seems stilted, unless the complaining party is themselves a vegan – a dead deer, cow, or sheep is okay, but a dead rabbit is not?

    I personally own several real-fur items, and see no distinction between the leather items I own; I think the choice of buying fur is extremely personal. That being said, I’m glad to see more options (for those who don’t use animal products) that are fun and fashionable.

  • Bogdana March, 6 2019, 5:58

    Hey Eliza,

    Thanks for stopping by to read.

    I like how you put it “Fur is just a more visceral reminder that the product is from an animal”.

    I think the problem here is not so much in the individual consumer, but in the system itself. I’m sure if there was an alternative that was cruelty-free but biodegradable, people would choose it over traditional animal product or plastic ones.

    Hopefully soon science will get us there. Since there are already pretty good leather alternatives that are made of pineapple, for example.

    xx
    Bogdana

  • The idea of wearing petroleum products repulses me. I’m quite happy with wool, cotton and linen and don’t need fur. But I do wear leather shoes and bags (which last forever–I have a leather coat that is 25 years old and still looks great).

  • Jorge Alexandre Teixeira March, 7 2019, 5:46 / Reply

    One can not please Greeks or Trojans, you Know what i mean ?
    Personally, i don’t have a firm opinion about this but on one side or the other , i think people need to be less fundamentalists either in relation to fur, food etc…Of course , i don’t agree in animal cruelty food or aestheticwise, *bullfighting ( *Touradas in Portugal ) and other atrocities of that kind and i read it once that the only that evolves in this world is medicine and technology. The Human Kind ? Naaa , not really !!! Fore some years now , is not cool to wear fur, but who knows in the future ? The people that voted for Obama were the same the same that voted for that lunatic now in office so…
    And aaaa…i really like you haircut, Bog !!!

  • My favorite writer.

  • Bogdana March, 12 2019, 5:36

    Lol
    I’m the only one who knows you’re not serious

  • Naydeline March, 8 2019, 6:12 / Reply

    I love this piece Bogdana, and I think it is an important conversation to be had. Personally, I’m not a fur girl and I am not well-versed in the fur debate other than knowing that there’s harmful effects with both real and faux fur, whether it’s harming an animal or harming the environment. I also agree with the first comment of, “Fur is just a more visceral reminder that the product is from an animal, but that doesn’t necessarily make it more cruel.” I own a pair of Uggs and the production of those is just as bad as real fur, but no one talks about, if only very briefly. Nevertheless, I like the idea of eco-fur and if I was to get a fur coat it would most likely be thrifted like most of my clothes – a happy medium!

  • Bogdana March, 12 2019, 5:37

    Thrifted is always a great idea! There are so many great platforms now for every budget :)

  • I love fur. I love the feeling, I love how much warmth it keeps, I love everything. However, I would never buy it new. I have 2 different fur things and I have thrifted them both. I just cannot bring myself to buy one.
    I am incredibly against faux fur, because of reasons mentioned (i.e., it’s just plastic). But I love that there are other ways? The cruelty-free real fur sounds amazing! I hope that goes into production, I would love to have that!

  • Bogdana March, 12 2019, 5:39

    Hey Diana, thanks for reading!
    It’s hard not to love fur when it’s soooo nice. I also wish there were more options for real cruelty-free fur. Maybe we’ve yet to see the change!

  • la fourrure, c’est sur les animaux, pas sur les vieilles peaux. Si on prend l’exemple de la laine angora, on peut voir que les lapins ne sont pas tués directement mais “épluchés” à la main de leurs grosses touffes de poils ce qui est une vraie torture et ils finissent par en mourir affreusement.La fourrure n’est pas obligatoire pour avoir chaud, c’est cruel d’exploiter les animaux pour leurs peaux ou leurs poils.Le synthétique, oui, et seulement le synthétique.#PETA #L214 #ONE VOICE

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