Is fur fall­ing out of fash­ion? Anya Ge­orgi­je­vic in­ves­ti­gates.

ELLE (Canada) - - Style -

GROW­ING UP, I al­ways ad­mired my mother’s fur coats. She had two in con­stant ro­ta­tion: a mid-length yel­low fox fur with im­pos­si­bly large shoul­ders and a glam­orous floor- length dark-brown number that looked like some­thing straight out of Sigour­ney Weaver’s Work­ing Girl wardrobe. My mother al­ways said they would be mine one day; we would pass them down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion. Fur coats, when pre­served well, have a longevity like no other cloth­ing item.

Al­though my mother’s coats are still in near-per­fect con­di­tion, it feels like they have out­lived their wear­a­bil­ity. Lux­ury houses like Burberry, Gucci and Ver­sace all re­cently pledged to phase out fur. And for the first time in his­tory, there was no fur on the Lon­don Fash­ion Week run­ways for the spring/sum­mer 2019 col­lec­tions. Luxe shop­ping site Net-a-Porter did away with sell­ing items made with fur in 2017. Why the change of heart? Anti- fur ac­tivism has been around prob­a­bly as long as my mom has had those coats hang­ing in her closet—if not longer. Re­mem­ber in ’94, when pro­test­ers from Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals ( PETA)

stormed the Calvin Klein of­fices? (Klein vowed to stop car­ry­ing fur shortly af­ter.) Or in 2002, when PETA pro­test­ers hold­ing “Gisele: Fur Scum” posters tar­geted the su­per­model be­cause she had a con­tract with a mink brand? The dif­fer­ence to­day is that it’s not just ac­tivist groups who are mak­ing noise. Eth­i­cally con­scious con­sumers are de­mand­ing to know where their goods come from— and that in­cludes cloth­ing, ac­cord­ing to Ta­mara Szames, di­rec­tor and fash­ion-in­dus­try an­a­lyst at mar­ket-re­search firm The NPD Group. Recent re­search found that 40 per­cent of mil­len­ni­als would pay more money for cloth­ing that is de­scribed as sus­tain­able, eco-friendly and eth­i­cal. When it comes to the younger con­sumer, val­ues and so­cial be­liefs mat­ter. “Fur is just the most vis­i­ble ma­te­rial to be called out,” rea­sons Szames.

Ash­ley Byrne, as­so­ciate di­rec­tor of cam­paigns at PETA, cred­its this shift in con­sumer con­scious­ness to—what else?—so­cial me­dia. The vis­i­bil­ity of celebri­ties on In­sta­gram makes spot­ting them in fur—and call­ing them out on it—eas­ier than ever. “Con­sumers are aware of the cruelty that goes on be­hind the scenes of the fur trade, and brands are re­spond­ing to this con­sumer aware­ness,” says Byrne. It helps that de­sign­ers like Stella McCart­ney, who pi­o­neered veg­e­tar­ian al­ter­na­tives to leather, have shown their peers that an­i­mal-free fash­ion isn’t just cov­etable; it’s prof­itable. But not ev­ery­one is turn­ing to faux-fur al­ter­na­tives. “At the end of the day, it’s all mar­ket­ing,” says Mosha Lund­ström Hal­bert, co-founder of the fam­ily- run lux­ury out­er­wear line Therma Kota, which uses real fur on the col­lars and cuffs of many of its coats.“Brands that are go­ing fur-free never had a strong fur busi­ness to be­gin with. So it re­ally is just to band­wagon on a greater [anti-fur] move­ment.” Lund­ström Hal­bert be­lieves that la­bels that do of­fer an­i­mal prod­ucts must be clear and trans­par­ent about their sourc­ing. Her brand uses sus­tain­ably ranched Cana­dian fur raised in cage-free con­di­tions as well as fur that comes from li­censed trap­pers. In Canada, fur has been a cru­cial source of liveli­hood for gen­er­a­tions of In­dige­nous com­mun­ities. Tanya Ta­gaq, an Inuit throat singer and author, has spo­ken out about the im­por­tance of seal­skin to Inuit com­mu­ni­ties. Vic­to­ria Kakuk­tin­niq, a Nu­navut- based de­signer, typ­i­cally uses har­vested seal­skin from New­found­land and fox fur to cre­ate coats that are warm enough to with­stand some of the harsh­est win­ter tem­per­a­tures in the world. Other pro­po­nents ar­gue that trap­ping also helps con­trol wildlife over­pop­u­la­tion that can threaten other, of­ten en­dan­gered, species. “[In Canada], there are very, very strict reg­u­la­tions about how the an­i­mals are raised and trapped,” says Rita Elias, co-founder of the Mon­treal-based outer­wear and ac­ces­sories line Mai­son Elama. These vary from prov­ince to prov­ince, but, says Elias, they “ad­dress the way an­i­mals are fed and treated and the longevity of their life. And ev­ery­thing is used in the process, not just the pelts.” Still, no mat­ter how mind­fully an an­i­mal is trapped, it is, well, killed. It’s a moral line some won’t cross.

Mak­ing mat­ters more com­pli­cated? Many con­sumers con­demn the use of fur but are okay with wear­ing leather goods. Per­haps it’s be­cause, un­like fur, leather is largely a by-prod­uct of the meat in­dus­try. Burberry, Ver­sace and Michael Kors, for ex­am­ple, are all fur-free brands that still pro­duce leather goods. †

Stella McCart­ney has shown that ani­mal­free fash­ion isn’t just cov­etable; it’s prof­itable.

“I ap­ply Bio-Oil ev­ery morn­ing and ev­ery night. I am 26 years old and when I was younger, had acne. As a re­sult, I have small scars on my cheeks. Since us­ing Bio-Oil, I have no­ticed a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in their ap­pear­ance. My scars have faded and are not as ob­vi­ous as they once were. This has also done won­ders for my self-con­fi­dence. I also find that Bio-Oil is a great makeup re­mover, and it helps to fight the small lines or wrin­kles be­gin­ning to form around my eyes (eek!). Thank you for such a great prod­uct. I am a cus­tomer for life!” Tayne McKin­non

Then there’s faux fur—seem­ingly the ideal al­ter­na­tive. Thanks to ad­vances in de­sign Scar and tech­nol­ogy, faux fur—once rel­e­gated to stretch cheap looks mark

prod­uct most fit for a Hal­loween cos­tume—is be­com­ing more

rec­om­mended so­phis­ti­cated in its qual­ity and ap­pear­ance. by doc­tors.* It’s more hu­mane, but it’s worth not­ing that most of the colour­ful teddy coats found on the racks of your favourite mass re­tail­ers are made from a petroleum-based ma­te­rial—a man­u­fac­tur­ing process that’s harm­ful to the en­vi­ron­ment. Like most fast fash­ion, these coats are de­signed to last a sea­son or two, of­ten end­ing up in a land­fill where they could take any­where from 500 to 1,000 years to biode­grade.

That said, not all faux fur is cre­ated equal. Gucci’s ’70s-in­spired floor-length faux-fur cape from its Re­sort 2019 col­lec­tion is hardly a cheap al­ter­na­tive and could eas­ily pass for the real thing. Over the past few years, high-end brands like Shrimps and House of Fluff have es­tab­lished them­selves as the lead­ers in qual­ity faux fur. Their coats are meant to last for years, with the same her­itage feel of the real deal thanks to their mind­ful ap­proach and their use of high­end tex­tiles.

New Pack­ag­ing Same For­mu­la­tion In­no­va­tions in tex­tile man­u­fac­tur­ing could fur­ther dis­rupt fur and leather pro­duc­tion. A

“I ap­ply Bio-Oil ev­ery morn­ing few com­pa­nies are pro­duc­ing cot­ton-based faux

and ev­ery night. I am 26 years old fur tex­tiles as an al­ter­na­tive to petroleum-based

and when I was younger, had acne. ones, al­though none of these caught on with

As a re­sult, I have small scars lead­ing brands. PETA’s Byrne hopes that such

on my cheeks. Since us­ing Bio-Oil, ad­vance­ments will help con­sumers make more

I have no­ticed a sig­nif­i­cant sus­tain­able choices the fu­ture. Mush­room

dif­fer­ence in their ap­pear­ance. and pineap­ple My scars leather have have faded proven and to be are vi­able not an­i­mal-leather as ob­vi­ous sub­sti­tutes, as they and it’s once pos­si­ble were. that high-qual­ity This an­i­mal-free has also fur done will won­ders also catch for on. my Savvy brands self-con­fi­dence. may want to take I note. also “When­ever find that there is Bio-Oil a value shift, is a there great is an makeup op­por­tu­nity re­mover, in the mar­ket,” and it says helps Szames. to Lund­ström fight the Hal­bert small is also open lines to lab-grown or wrin­kles al­ter­na­tives. be­gin­ning “We are to in touch form with com­pa­nies around my that eyes are ex­plor­ing (eek!). that,” Thank she says. you “I for want such to be one a great of the first prod­uct. to be able to use I it.” am a cus­tomer for life!”

As Tayne for my mother’s McKin­non fur coats, they might just see a new life in some way or an­other; maybe I’ll up­cy­cle them into fur trim for an­other top­per or use part of them as a stole. They will hang in my Bio-Oil closet is a along spe­cial­ist with skin­care my prod­uct beloved for­mu­lated fuzzy to help leop­ar­dim­prove the

® ap­pear­ance of scars, stretch marks and un­even skin tone. Its unique for­mu­la­tion, print Shrimps jacket—it’s faux, but it’s just as

which con­tains the break­through in­gre­di­ent PurCellin Oil™, is also highly heir­loom-worthy. ® ef­fec­tive for ag­ing and de­hy­drated skin. For com­pre­hen­sive prod­uct in­for­ma­tion and re­sults of clin­i­cal tri­als, please visit bio-oil.com. Bio-Oil is avail­able at drug­stores and se­lected re­tail­ers. In­di­vid­ual re­sults will vary. * The Med­i­cal Post and Pro­fes­sion Santé 2018 Sur­vey on OTC Coun­selling & Rec­om­men­da­tions ELLECANADA. COM

Scar and stretch mark prod­uct most rec­om­mended by doc­tors.* New Pack­ag­ing Same For­mu­la­tion

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