The Fall Winter 2011 season has reaffirmed the following: Animal skins are one of the biggest and hottest trends right now in fashion. Used in every aspect of one’s wardrobe, from trimmed details to full on coats, animal skins are all the rage, and this, for both sexes. Skins like Fur (omnipresent), python and snakes, ostrich and feathers to name a few are ruling the catwalks and designers are exploiting these trends to the fullest. Designers are updating the looks by incorporating wild colors, exotic skins, short as well as long haired furs and so forth all in an effort to keep the consumer interested.
However, whenever comes talk of fur and animal skins in our industry, controversy and heated debates aren’t too far behind. Discussions and questions about morality, consciousness and ethical values always arise. Associations like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have manifested and even attacked powerful rulers in the fashion industry (Anna Wintour, remember?). So the question is; to fur or not to fur especially in a season where it is predominant? Evidently, this question is of personal choice, to wear it or not. It is a touchy subject as, on one hand, for example, people who wear fur defend their right to choose by indicating that no one should dictate and control one’s decision, and on the other hand, detractors revolt against disconcerting questions of cruelty, abuse and treatment of animals.
When the dollar sign is all that seems to matter for most in the fashion world, caring if animals are skinned alive or questioning the ethical issues are in general the least of one’s worries. However, this is not entirely true as many designers opt to show fake furs and fake leathers that are so close to the real thing, making it easier to understand the outlandish price tags. Karl Lagerfeld, for one, showed the entire Chanel Fall 2010 collection in fake fur. Others like Stella McCartney, who is a vegetarian herself, supports PETA and does not use fur nor any kind of animal skin in her (very pricey) collections.
So who wins? Are you a bad person if you wear animal skins? Are you a horrible brand if you don’t care about animal cruelty? Are you marginal if you protest against the use of fur? Such a touchy subject indeed...