Thursday, February 21, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

I only ask because there is so much of the stuff appearing on the catwalks this Autumn. The fuzzy effect is in practically every major collection but what is so striking is the number of designers who are using real fur to express that idea.

Let me say early on that I am not necessarily pro or anti-fur. In fact, I find the whole issue profoundly confusing. I don't quite understand how anyone who eats meat can then make judgement against someone who chooses to wear fur. As recent news events show, we never truly know what meat it is that we're eating, unless you always buy from a local, trusted butchers who prepare cuts themselves. It is far too black and white to say that leather is fine because it's a by-product of the meat industry and fur is not because those animals die purely for their skin- see this Guardian piece for more clarity on that point. What is definitely true is that leather is commonplace whereas fur is laced with- depending on your viewpoint- glamour, disgust, fascination, beauty and otherworldliness.
Joseph Altuzarra AW13
Last year, I was on my own quite late at night at Waterloo station waiting for my platform to come up. I was wearing a very warm, authentically chocolate brown but nevertheless very much fake fur jacket. A man approached, lurched towards me and began to shout abuse at me for wearing fur. This made me wonder, is there so much of  difference between wearing fur that is authentic looking but ultimately fake and the real thing? Aside from cost, to the onlooker you are portraying the same message whether it's fake or not.

Marc Jacobs AW13
Back to the catwalks. A certain kind of lady, maybe best represented by Anna Wintour, has never stopped wearing fur and certain brands have never stopped using fur. The American Vogue editor has endured very public confrontations with PETA protesters but has stoically carried on wearing her pelts because that's her thing. Then Miu Miu SS13 came along; shamelessly, extravagantly offering up fur coats and stoles alongside denim pencil skirts and dust coats. Miuccia Prada was making a statement by being so blatant with fur a. By using it in her supposedly younger Miu Miu line and b. By pairing it with a casual fabric like denim. The casual/ luxe mix is a key part of this fur story. That man at Waterloo station (and his ilk) is of no concern. The most simple explanation is that designers like Prada and then everyone using fur this season- Joseph Altuzarra, Christopher Kane, Marc Jacobs- are simply answering demand. Jacobs even put a cartoonish fox face on his creations, mimicking the the unashamed way women in the 20s and 30s would wear animals with faces and tails still intact. Fur sells now- the industry has almost doubled in value since 2000 from £5.7 billion to £9.4 billion- and so that is a very good reason for designers to use it in their collections, if they can get round the ethics.

Simone Rocha AW13
Obviously some will not use fur, either because they simply prefer the look of faux, cannot afford to work with  the real thing or have their own ethical problem with animal hides. Simone Rocha's 'Respect your elders' collection was an LFW highlight, inspired by her two Grannies. She used verging on kitsch leopard fake fur to trim collars and make entire sweatshirts and coats. In a really great way, you would never mistake Simone Rocha's girl as wearing the real deal. Away from the fashion weeks, Stella McCartney has just unveiled the newest version of her Falabella bag. McCartney famously eschews leather and fur in her collections but has still managed to tap into the furry mood with the Itsy Bitsy bag, so named after two of the sheep in her very own organic flock whose fleeces have been used to makes the bags. If the horsemeat scandal has made us think twice about the origin of our food, then Stella's option is the fashion equivalent of getting conscientious; good welfare provenance assured.

The kindest way to do the tufty trend: Stella McCartney Itsy Bitsy Falabella £1,150

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