: Fur Hypocrisy

May 2008 The recent Milan Fashion Week has seen the top Italian fashion houses parade their winter collection for 2008/2009.

Gucci, Versace, Prada, and Fendi are all united in their flagrant use of fur.

Once again the myth that fur is glamourous - despite the fact that it takes 10 dead animals to make one coat - is being promoted.

In one example, Fendi have a 35,000 striped chincilla and silver fox coat, made from a gruesome 60 pelts. Celebrities such as Jerry Hall, Lindsay Lohan, and Madonna are endorsing the resurgent trend. Indeed, autumn/winter 2008/2009 is likely to see a renewed attempt by the designer houses who use fur to break the UK market.

US designer Caroline Herrerra is even doing a new line in fur-trimmed hunting-inspired jackets to make fur not only "provocative", but "fun".

Can spending vast sums of money on advertizing and promotion - and gifting fur fashion items to gullible or glib celebrities for them to wear - led to a change of opinion among UK fashion followers?


Supermodel Elle Macpherson is making a dramatic gesture to prevent publication of photos she has posed in as "the face" of luxury fur company Blackglama.

Elle has contacted lawyers in an attempt to pull out of the 1 million contract.

The photos show the supermodel in a selection of fluffy mink jackets.

She now seems to have decided that the poses are not such a good idea.

A spokesperson for Elle comments:

"Elle has never seen anything ethically wrong in wearing fur and was very keen to get involved with the campaign.

But in the wake of recent developments against the fur industry from militant protestors and animal rights activists, Elle feels that no amount of money was worth jeopardising the safety of herself or her family.

But as far as Blackglama is concerned, a seven-figure sum deal has been signed and Elle is tied to it".

If the multi-million pound campaign goes ahead Elle fears she will be seen as the figurehead for the new fur revival.

Actress Jennifer Lopez is facing being stalked by a celebrity protestor against her use of fur.

Heather Mills McCartney - Second wife of ex-Beatle Paul - says she will track J-Lo down to her home and also appear on the red carpet at her next movie premiere.

Miss Mills spoke out after leading a group invasion of the New York offices of the actress's clothing company, Sweetface.

J-Lo has made fur seem aspirational in the bling-bling culture of rich young Americans. She arrived at the premiere of her film 'Maid in Manhattan' in a 10,000 white mink coat.

Miss Mills made it clear that J-Lo is now a legitimate target for protest:

"I'll find out where she lives and I'll show up there".

Miss Mills also stormed the New York premises of the fashion label J Crew wearing a sandwich board containing a plasma screen television showing scenes of animals being skinned alive in China.

Police removed her from the store.

The Dolce and Gabbana catwalk at Milan fashion week has been stormed by anti-fur protestors.

Many Italian designers are now using astrakhan and broodtail in their collections and this has led to outrage.

Astrakhan is made from the pelt of Karakul lambs killed within days of birth.

Broodtail is made from the pelt of lambs that are stillborn.

It is estimated that 4,000,000 Karakul lambs are slaughtered every year for their skins.

The lambs are killed and skinned within days of birth.

At Milan a black astrakhan coat was premiered; cost 11,500.

Jennifer Lopez is now the renewed target for 'Fur Scum' protests in the USA as her new fashion line, Sweetface, is show-casing clothes featuring mink, fox, and rabbit.

The 35-year-old singer promoted her new album - called Rebirth - by posing in a poncho lined with fox fur.


The autumn 2005 fashion shows are likely to be the focal point for protests against what now seems to be the fashion industry's renewed belief in fur as an acceptable fashion product.

Alexander McQueen, Versace and Oscar de la Renta are all using fur in their new autumn collections. They feature suits, coats and trousers made from beaver, fox, sable, astrakan and lynx.

British designer Julien Macdonald recently enthused:

"I adore fur, it adds ultimate luxury and glamour to my collections."

Mick Jagger's model daughter Elizabeth, 20, opened the most recent London Fashion Week by posing in a Macdonald fox stole, marching down a catwalk lined with cowhides.

Some big name designers - such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Moschino, Stella McCartney, and Vivienne Westwood - continue to refuse to use fur.

Yet the mood in the fashion press - and amongst models - seems to have shifted, especially in the USA. Fears are that the UK will follow.

Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue has declared:

"Fur is undoubtedly the number one fashion accessory this season. And I'm not just talking about a traditional fur coat. There's fur trim on sweaters, coats, even dresses."

You need 60 to 80 dead mink for just one coat. Mink spend all of their short lives in wire cages. They are victims of psychosis, self-mutilation and cannibalism.

UK supermodel Kate Moss has continued to flaunt her about-turn on the wearing of fur by buying 2 pairs of the new fashion 'must-have' - the Mukluk boot.

Kate - like her friend Jane Marsh - previously endorsed an anti-fur stance but is now proud to wear the skin of electrocuted rabbits on her feet.

The boots - handmade in Canada - are made from suede and rabbit fur, and lined in sheepskin.

Following celebrity endorsement, demand for the boots - selling at £259 a pair - is now massive.

Matches, one of the first London stores to stock the boot, sold 400 pairs in 2 hours. It now has a waiting list of over 500 customers.

People believe that celebrities who have worn the boots - including not only Kate, but Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Beyonce Knowles, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Wayne Rooney's girlfriend Colleen McLaughlin - can not be wrong.

Yet many of the rabbits are skinned alive. They have a short life packed in to small wire boxes before being taken out and strangled or electrocuted.


US supermodel Cindy Crawford has confirmed her new enthusiastic support for the fur trade by becoming the new face for fur coat giants Blackglama.

Despite previously appearing in a photo naked captioned 'I'd rather go naked than wear fur' Cindy is now more than happy to be photographed in animal pelts. Indeed, her publicists are claiming that her previously believed support was, in fact, all a misunderstanding.

Cindy's personal publicist Annett Wolf (not an alias) claims:

'This is so unfair. Cindy's not pretending to be anything she isn't. It's outrageous.

Cindy never took a stand against fur. All she ever did was one photo as a favour '

In the past Cindy not only posed in billboard ads against the fur industry but also signed a petition against it alongside fellow models Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss and Jane Marsh.

The text of the petition reads: "We will speak up for animals by refusing to wear them." Cindy's signature and printed name are clearly legible.

Blackglama fur boss Ed Brennan is delighted with his new celebrity acquisition. Ed enthused:

"Blackglama campaigns have featured some of history's greatest entertainers including Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren.

Cindy embodies everything we look for - glamour, sophistication and timeless elegance."

here is little
doubt that the vacancy of a lot of the celebrity culture - the dominant culture in the UK at present - is reflected by the abrupt about turn of the 'model celebrities' as regards wearing fur.
Only a few years ago the famous proclaimed bravely "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" and were delighted to be plastered all over the papers nude but for strategically placed plastic handbags. Now fur is hip. It's cool. All that matters is not whether an issue is right or wrong; it's pointless to even debate such things. All that matters is how you look and whether that look gets you attention.    
  Fur was in fashion at 18 fashion houses during Paris couture fashion week; in total 300 designers Europe-wide have used it this year.  
According to the British Fur Trade Association, the production of mink pelts has steadily risen by an annual 10 per cent over the past few years.

Ultimately what the complete about-turn concerning the use of fur in the fashion industry has shown is that any idea, conviction or belief, is now merely necessary to be discarded whenever the cultural climate seems to change.
Rather than have convictions or beliefs it is fashionable purely to be fashionable; to reflect what is believed to be the most popular (or advantageous) position.    
  When society itself is merely reflecting back what it believes about celebrities (see article THE NEW GODS?), and those idols are in turn presenting whatever they hope will make them popular, you have the reflection of a void on a void. Soul-less.  



Fur-lover Madonna (see FUR HYPOCRISY link) has bought the rights to an American book about the darker side of supermodeldom, Michael Gross's bestselling 'Model - the Ugly Business of Beautiful Women'.

The picture will present a totally Americanized view of the fashion world.

The production is expected to be completed in the next 3 - 5 years.


More than 300 top designers - from Christian Dior to Ralph Lauren - are now working with fur.

Madonna has now lent her support, being photographed wearing a £10,000 black knee-length karakul fur coat.

The karakul is fur of a butter-soft, smooth and velvety texture - the skin of tiny Persian lambs.

Animal rights campaigners have established that such coats are not only made from newborn lambs (as claimed by the manufacturers) but from foetuses extracted soon before their mothers give birth.

Pregnant ewes have their throats slit without first being stunned so that their babies - wriggling alive in their mothers' stomachs - die in the womb from lack of oxygen.

89,300 karakul pelts were auctioned at the Copenhagen Fur Trade Centre in less than an hour before Christmas: they traded for over £1 million.

Even karakul lambs not ripped from the womb live for a pitiful short time: they average between 24 and 72 hours old before they are butchered and turned into fashion accessories.

A total of 26 foetuses are required to make a knee-length coat such as Madonna's.
21/2/2003 PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) demonstrators protest at London Fashion Week. Anti-fur banners were brandished at Camden's Roundhouse despite a heavy security presence. British designer Julien Macdonald followed the American lead by a slavish use of animal skins in his new collection. A long-time user of fox and rabbit, his latest show was sponsored by Saga, one of the largest fur manufacturers in the world. The show was attended by a full complement of celebrities wearing the new compulsory item: fur-trimmed "PEACE NOT WAR" T-shirts.  
2/4/2004 Sales of fur in the UK have increased by 35 per cent according to figures for 2004 released by fur retailers.

The popularity of pelts including mink, fox, chinchilla and rabbit is at a 15-year high.

Mink now makes up 50% of worldwide fur sales. Overall fur sales in the UK have risen from £127 million in 2001-02 to £177 million in 2004. A spokesperson for the British Fur Trade Association enthused:

"I don't think people are going in to shops and thinking about fur as a political issue any more."

Photographs showing models such as Naomi Campbell and Jane Marsh (see link) wearing fur coats are believed to have been a major factor in fur's new surge in popularity. Celebrity endorsement has made the product 'cool' as well as warm and cuddly.

The heavy promotion of fox and mink pelts by leading fashion houses has seen fur making over 300 catwalk appearances in 2003.

British Fur Trade Association figures detail more than 400 designers using fur - 7 times as many as in 1985.

Sandra Halliday of Worth Global Style Network, the fashion monitoring service, sees a global fur-embracing shift:

"Celebrities used to be very much against fur but there has been a complete change brought about largely by people like Gwyneth Paltrow, Puff Daddy and Jennifer Lopez.

We're in a period of conspicuous consumption and fur has become part of that as celebrities have wanted to look flashier.

Fur is expensive, and whatever you say about it morally, it also says 'I've got lots of money'. Consumers want to tap in to that."

Rumour has it that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, see link) are planning a Transatlantic campaign to counteract this new acceptability of cruelty in fashion.

Campaigns were previously undermined when 2 PETA spokeswomen, the models Cyndi Crawford and Naomi Campbell, subsequently wore fur on the catwalk.

Fur-lover Madonna (see FUR HYPOCRISY link) has bought the rights to an American book about the darker side of supermodeldom, Michael Gross's bestselling 'Model - the Ugly Business of Beautiful Women'.

The picture will present a totally Americanized view of the fashion world.

The production is expected to be completed in the next 3 - 5 years.

© Guy Byrne 2002, 2005