PETA’s angora fur investigation shocked the world in late 2013. The nonprofit’s undercover footage from an angora wool farm in China (a county home to 90 percent of all angora production) showed rabbits having their fur painfully plucked from their bodies while fully conscious.
Not long after the video’s release, a number of clothing retailers quickly banned the sale of angora fur-based garments including H&M, ASOS, PVH Corp (parent company of Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and more), Land’s End, QVC, Espirit, and New Look.
However, despite this highly publicized investigation and years of campaigning against the cruelty and unsustainable nature of the fur industry, fur garments seem to be making a comeback.
According to the Mail Online, “70 percent of catwalk shows featured fur,” including shows by Tom Ford, DKNY, J. Mendel, and Alexander McQueen.
What’s more, celebrities are increasingly seen sporting fur coats and fur-trimmed garments from Lily Allen to Rihanna.
Yet this influx of fur has not been a “natural occurring process,” so to speak. In fact, the fur industry has crafted carefully orchestrated plans and campaigns over the years in order to survive backlash and bring younger generations into its consumer base, as the Mail Online reported in a recent analysis story.
The major ways that the fur industry is trying to bring on new consumers and stay relevant include:
- Re-imagining the idea of fur in a way to make it accessible for younger generations.
- Using dyes on fur to provide varied, youthful, and more modern pieces.
- Crafting thinner fur garments so that they can be more readily worn in warmer-weather areas.
- Gifting fur to celebrities to increase exposure.
- Targeting future designers through fashion school competitions by providing free fur garments to use.
- Inviting established designers to work with fur.
- Making and promoting educational materials about fur for use in school curriculum.
- Creating the allusion of “ethical fur” through an “origin assured” label that aims to “reassure customers that the fur they are buying came from a country with rules governing its production,” as the Mail Online reports.
While these can certainly be considered smart business tactics, each and every one of these plans are also designed to do something else beyond bringing on a new consumer base; they are designed to avoid discussion about the ethics surrounding fur and the industry’s inherent cruelty, leaving the public in the dark about the connection between a piece of fur and where it originally came from.
Simply because fur is purported as a “fashionable” fabric or a “luxury” item does not suddenly make the suffering of millions of animals (over 50 million annually to be exact) okay. As the gore-free video below from the Humane Society of the United States shows, there is absolutely no compassion present in the fur industry. We should not stand for the manipulation game the fur industry is playing. And so, find out what you can do to help fight the fur comeback with the following information.
How to Fight the Comeback
- Avoid any products that contain fur or fur trim.
- Learn to tell the difference between faux fur and real fur to avoid purchasing a product falsely marked “faux” when in fact it is made out of an animal’s skin and coat.
- Retire old fur coats and products (and encourage others to do so as well) to a program such as Coats for Cubs, which uses the fur to provide bedding for injured and orphaned animals in the U.S.
- Use social media as a way to raise awareness about fur-farmed animals by sharing articles such as OGP’s “Why Animals Deserve to Keep Their Fur (and Skin)” and “Five Worst Ways Animals are Exploited in the Fashion Industry.”
- Donate to organizations fighting to end cruel fur fashion such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) or Born Free USA.
- Sign this pledge to go fur-free from the HSUS, and ask your friends, family, and social media followers to do the same.
Image source: Emma Forsberg / Flickr