Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cliché Thursday: Fur leftovers

Fur is a pretty heavy issue. If your upbringing was anything like mine, you were taught that buying fur is not okay. While I have thought about vintage fur coats and whether it's okay to buy one, it never even crossed my mind to consider buying a new fur coat. And not just because they're expensive - it's just one of those lines I was taught not to cross as a kid, morally almost on par with issues like racism and environmental waste. Principles learned at a young age are the ones that stick the longest.

But somehow, fur is becoming okay again. Undeniably, most designers feel just fine sending glamourous fur items down the catwalk. You could of course argue that catwalks aren't necessarily representative of what people actually wear. After all, most of us can't afford to be decked out in fox, mink or sable (although we did spot a hell of a lot of fur coats in Paris). We can, however, afford fur trimmings and accessories. Fur on the hoods of coats, boots, gloves, sleeves, ... And what's the harm? After all, these small bits and scraps are castoffs of animals that were already dead. It would almost seem wasteful to throw them away - why shouldn't they be used? They're leftovers from the core industry of fur: coats and hats.

Except they're not. Fur trimmings aren't by-products. As the trade in coats declined, the fur industry turned to trim. Animals are now raised for the trim market specifically. For instance, as much as 90% percent of farm-bred foxes in the USA are killed to provide fur trim. According to FICA, the Fur Information Council of America, in 2010 the fur market accounted for $1.3 billion in trade. In the USA alone. Fur trim retail is estimated to be worth $500 million annually. Peanuts?

The problem with fur trim is that it is rarely labeled. Don't assume you're buying faux fur just because you're not paying big bucks - fur trimmings really don't come that expensive. And even when it is labeled as fur, and you have no objection to it, be very cautious: Asian cat and dog fur is known to be sometimes sold as rabbit fur. I'd suggest to thread carefully, and if you're in doubt, ask the brand for more information!


  1. I love that top photo on the right! So so beautiful!

    See Me Rwar

    1. I don't even want to delete this - it is irony on so many levels. :')

  2. An interesting post. I too have never even considered buying real fur as it would seem wrong for an animal to be killed for something to wear when there are so many alternatives. But Idid think that perhaps rabbit fur trim was a by product of the meat industry, although I have never looked to buy it. yet another example of something that is not quite what it seems in the fashion industry and a reminder on the need for more info on where our clothes are coming from.

  3. Great fur pieces.

  4. If it's very obviously a vintage fur, I'm on the fence as to whether or not I'd buy one. If someone I knew for instance, my grandmother, wanted to pass down one of hers from the 30's or 40's, yes - I would totally accept it. It's something from her life and a memory. I've kept everything I've ever been fortunate enough to have handed down to me from her. I'm really glad you brought this topic up and explored it this way. I don't believe fur is alright and I only condone the wearing of faux fur. I never cease to be amazed at some of the comments people will leave. Keep up the good work.

  5. Really interesting and eye-opening on the question of fur trim. I only ever buy faux fur, from charity shops. And yet there are those who would argue that even wearing faux fur encourages a wider passive acceptance of seeing any fur (faux or real) as desirable.
    And then of course, the very tricky question of family inherited real, vintage fur. I do in fact have a fur stole that belonged to my great grandmother. There was a point where my mum suggested the most ecologically defensible thing to do with it might be to compost it! However, that seemed even more of a waste. I think I agree with Symbiotic Life above about a great-grandmother's fur being something from her life and memory. However, it's still a difficult moral decision about whether to actually wear it.

  6. Ach... Heavy issue indeed... I am ok with wearing thrifted fur - it's been there for years, you might as well buy it, right? It's like reycling or smth, right? But I would never buy new fur items. And the funny thing is that you say "somehow, fur is becoming okay again", but I feel that it's quite the opposite... I mean, as far as the general public is concerned. I don't feel comfortable wearing fur sometimes. Some people even make remarks. And I always feel like answering - "Dior has a lot of fur in its latest collection, why you bother me who's wearing a poor, old thrifted coat?"
    Ach... Dunno. Thanks for the thought provoking post anyway!

  7. PS: I completely forgot to thank you for the lovely comment you left on my blog! It was really sweet to read! <3

  8. I've previously talked about vintage fur on my blog but I never even considered fur leftovers! Would you mind me including this in my march round up? I want to praise you for not ranting or coming across as one sided, fur themed posts are rarely nice to see because of the snark involved.