Friday, February 15, 2013

Fur-Free Fashion is a Good Business Decision

Feel This Moment (feat. Christina Aguilera) by Pitbull on Grooveshark
(just discovered this song courtesy of my good friend M & I love the A-Ha shoutout!)

Welcome to Cheap-Valentine's-Day-Chocolates Day! Has everyone recovered from V-Day? We're all good, no missing limbs, all accounted for?  It's such a hyped-up day that frankly only serves a commercial interest - something we all cerebrally acknowledge, yes? - and yet we are all pulled into it, one way or another, and have weird expectations for it.  It's funny, when I get the overpriced flowers, the expensive dinner & romantic gift, the whole shebang, I think, meh, we're only supporting The Man, what a waste...and then, when the guy falls short of this scenario, I'm like, how dare he!! Hey, we never said it was easy, even I can't figure myself out.  My two cents on it is to have as much fun as possible no matter what your relationship status and remember, amor is lovely every day of the year.  I personally think it's more romantic to celebrate a day with your date that's special to only you, like your first date, first time you kissed, etc.

But moving on to a completely different direction, can we focus on fur for a minute (without going into leather or other animal by-products)?

In California, nobody wears fur.  First, it's never cold enough to need it, so if you show up somewhere wearing fur you look like a pretentious a**.  Second, it is highly stigmatized.  There are just way too many animal lovers to tolerate anyone wearing fur, and those animal lovers include socialites and celebrities...for better or worse, it's funny how they tend to set the bar for things like ethics in fashion, right?  Unsurprisingly, California has one of the most robust anti-animal cruelty laws in the country.

When I went to school on the East Coast, though, I noticed some people wearing fur in winter - usually the older crowd and usually the foreign crowd.  My ex-boyfriend's mom even gave me a vintage fur coat as a gift which I returned with as much grace as possible...I hated to do it as a matter of courtesy, but I just could not stand the thought of owning something that was created through the torture of innocent, emotionally-sentient animals.   Nobody credibly disputes that fur farms are cesspools of slowly dying and continuously tortured highly-sensitive animals who are cruelly and painfully put to death.  I don't understand how anyone could feel right paying good money for unnecessary suffering.  Plus, it's just incredibly creepy to walk around wearing the pelts of dead animals who suffered a torturous, agonizing death...wouldn't you say?

But being in Paris during the winter, I've been noticing people wearing furs as well.  Again, it's usually the older crowd and look, if you already had that fur coat prior to becoming aware of the issue, well, what can you do about that.  But then I noticed some of the premiere haute couture houses at Paris fashion week elaborately using fur at the most recent fashion week.  I was beyond disgusted - have we really gone backwards as a culture to insist, in this day and age, on continuing to brutally sacrifice innocent lives for vanity?

On the bright side, there are many hugely successful brands that have made a firm commitment not to use fur (some also do not use animals products like leather at all, like Stella McCartney).  Those fashion lines that still use fur should take note of such companies and follow suit.  It's a profitable business decision in addition to being ethically responsible.  Our generation does not feel comfortable with fur - we realize that it creates unnecessary suffering and is incredibly bad karma.  Plus, with global warming, nobody even needs fur unless you work on an oil drill in Antarctica, and yes, I'm aware of the irony.   

This link here shows you some major apparel brands that do not use fur but I wanted to focus briefly on Stella McCartney.

She is phenomenal...all that privilege, talent and ambition and still so determined to maintain her ethics and be ecologically conscious!

While at first the fashion world was skeptical of the nepotism that might have been involved with Paul McCartney's daughter delving into the fashion world, it has been blown away by her collections and now she is known to be a consistent hitmaker.  Not only is her line extremely successful in high fashion, she doesn't use any animals products, including leather.   And it hasn't hurt her business one bit.  In fact, for example, her iconic chain strap tote-bag made with faux leather (shown below), is worn by a slew of celebrities and despite its >$1k price tag, is sold out everywhere:

The point is, these days there are a lot of good-quality substitutes for leather or fur...making a conscious decision not to use fur does not have to impact the aesthetics of fashion, at all (see e.g., Chanel and Ralph Lauren who have both used fake fur very successfully in the past).  I love all of Stella McCartney's clothes, they're cutting-edge but still feminine, comfortable and very flattering on the female body.  Take a look at some of her more popular looks:

Her spotted dress was a huge hit but why, gorgeous Susan Sarandon -  who I just love especially in Dead Man Walking and Bull Durham - why the bra strap hanging out? 
Other successful fashion lines that have rejected using fur as a matter of principle:  Calvin Klein; Ralph Lauren; Vivienne Westwood; Tommy Hilfiger, Betsey Johnson; Charlotte Ronson.  Great hearts & lots of talent.  Here's hoping the others see the light but in the meantime, we as informed consumers, can do our part too, and make it profitable for them to jump on the fur-free bandwagon.

1 comment:

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