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