Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Great Fur Debate: Am I Faking It?

So, I've noticed a bit of a storm around certain blogs regarding what people view as acceptable or unacceptable to wrap our bodies in.  Solanah especially has been particularly brave in putting her views across and, whether you agree or not, you've got to admire her courage for facing down everyone who has blasted her.  Anyway, there was a little occurrence over the weekend that got me thinking about fur, so I thought I'd put my two cents in.

A little bit of background before I get started: I've been vegetarian for almost 23 years, ever since I was 4.  Dead things gross me out; I have a phobia of taxidermy, could never cook meat for any of my lovers, and when the vet recommended I give my cat some chicken I instantly went out and bought a box of disposable latex gloves so I didn't have to physically touch meat.  I have owned, and still do own, leather shoes even though I don't particularly like the idea of where they came from.  For environmental and welfare reasons, I've dabbled in veganism although brie is always my downfall!

So you can see, I'm really not down with the dead animal thing.

I wore fur once.  At the Wansford 40s dance last September, I got talking to a lady in the bathroom and asked her if her stole was vintage.  She explained it wasn't, but it had been humanely culled as part of a typical agricultural process; she'd seen it hanging up and her husband lovingly turned it into a stole for her.  So it wasn't farmed for fur, and was going to be killed anyway.   She asked me to hold it while she went to the loo, and it lasted long enough round my neck for me to take a picture:

By this point I was freaking out at the idea of having a dead thing round my neck, and with great relief gave it back to its owner.

This weekend, I went home and in my absent-mindedness completely forgot to take a coat with me.  Raiding the cupboard under the stairs, I came across a coat I had bought at uni and completely swooned at it.  When I bought it, I never wore it because it suddenly occurred to me that it might be real fur.  But the mamma bear and I conducted a series of experiments (burning, wetting, stroking, ripping the lining to see the back of the fabric) and came to the conclusion that it was indeed a fake.  I'm 98% sure it's not real fur... and that other 2% is the same worried part of me that panics every time I eat a veggie burger in case someone's put real meat in it.
So, check it out!

I've now got to wondering though... would I still wear it if it was real fur?  I've stopped criticising people who wear *vintage* fur - it's been long since killed - although in Britain today there is absolutely no need for new fur, other than fashion, and I will never, ever agree with killing things just to look nice.  However, I never ever saw myself as being someone who would even wear old old fur.  It just wasn't me, and the thought of it made me feel kind of queasy.  But I love this coat.  It's warm, it's pretty and it feels like it was made for me.  So maybe it's bad, but I kind of don't want to know if that 98% of me is wrong.  And that's going to take a lot of getting used to.  I might even change my mind in a day or two and retire it back to the cupboard under the stairs.

So what are your thoughts on fur?  Would you wear it?  What do you think of people who do?  Do you see a difference between vintage and new fur?  


  1. I would never wear real fur. I am also a vegetarian and wearing dead animals makes me uncomfortable (which includes wearing leather). I don't have a problem however with other people wearing VINTAGE fur. If people do not wear vintage fur it will just be throw away and that seems to me a waste.

  2. Hey Jen! Thanks for linking to my post!

    To give my 2 cents, I love my furs (vintage of course). I love how they feel, I love how warm even the littlest fur collar can be, and honestly, I love how they look. I think fur is beautiful no matter what, even if it's a tragic beauty.

    Some people have admitted to me that they were anti-fur until they tried on a vintage coat or stole. Then they understood the appeal. Others are completely creeped out by it, something I totally understand!

    I like that you have tried on a fur, and were open to trying it on, to me that makes your view on it more meaningful, because, well, it's like saying "I don't like tomatoes, even after I have tried eating them." Instead of "I don't like tomatoes and won't even try one."

    Haha, ok, hope that makes sense ;)


  3. Thanks for the thoughts guys :) I'm still hoping my lovely new coat is fake, although if it's real I probably will keep wearing it!

    Kate - I'd been feeling like the world's worst vegetarian, so it's nice to know others have similar views to vintage fur, even if they choose not to wear it themselves.

    Solanah - I've loved hearing your views on fur (and the other great PJ debate!). Your fondness for 'foxy' is beyond cute!

    Jen xxxx

  4. I'm vegan and I don't wear fur. I have no problem with anyone wearing vintage fur but, to me, new fur is gross. I have more of an issue with fake fur than with real, vintage fur - this is becuase of all the horrible chemicals and intensive methods that go into making it which aren't great for the environment, I try to avoid uneccessary no more fake leopard fur for me...sigh..

  5. Wow Sooz, I hadn't even thought of the environmental implications of fake fur, that's a really interesting point! I'm so anti packaging / plastic bags / unnecessary waste, but didn't stop to consider the production of clothes (although I do pretty much exclusively make my own or buy second hand). Thanks for that!

    Jen xxxx