Second hand shopper’s feelings on fur

Angela: [voiceover] What I was thinking, as like a New Year’s resolution, is to stop getting so caught up in my own thoughts, ’cause I’m like way too introspective. I think… But what if not thinking turns me into this shallow person? I better rethink this becoming less introspective thing. Okay, so I’ll stay introspective, but I do resolve to stop doing Jordan Catalano’s homework.

I  think too much. It’s true, the slightest comment – even a 140 character tweet – can provoke me into hour-long introspections, inspire mammoth blog posts. One such comment by @SianySianySiany last week set me thinking about the fur trade.

My first experience of the fur debate was at high school during the height of my Jamiroquai obsession. On a trip to The Clothes Show in Birmingham I had professed my love for a soft brown, fake fur top hat, which showed up in a green and gold hat box come Christmas morning. My best friend Chrissie had not long turned vegetarian following an exchange visit to a working farm, and scolded me for promoting fur as a viable fashion choice. We fell out, and barely spoke for the entire 40 minute bus journey “oop ‘anley”. Of course, we’d made up by the time we hit C&A…

I know how I feel about fur. I would never buy new. I do own several pieces of fake (including a brown wrap I made for a burlesque night out of a Poundland cushion cover) and a few prized pieces of vintage. Two were inherited from my Gran and one, a vintage 60s rabbit-fur jacket, was bought for £5 from a charity shop. My feelings are that I would rather use pre-70s pieces than let them go to landfill – we can’t afford not to be recycling, and back then they didn’t know better. Fur is effective: it keeps you warm and it lasts. When my Gran died she left a wardrobe of fur coats that no-one would take off our hands for fear of attack. We should be putting these to good use.

More than this, if we’re going to discuss the ethics of clothing we should be taking into account the Primark effect. My true fur jacket, on top of its green credentials, raised some much-needed pennies for the British Red Cross. I would rather get use from several rabbits who died 50 odd years ago than put pounds in the pockets of a multinational that exploits desperate children in a bid to keep costs down. You’ll pay at least double what I did for your high street, vintage-inspired faux pieces, but that will be nothing to the price of a young girl or boy’s childhood. In my opinion, if we were to ban the sale of real fur but increase the availability of vintage the problem would have a chance to balance itself out.

Of course, I’m open to hear the other side of the argument. As such, I’m about to open a debate on Dyalogues in the hope that someone takes it up and gives me a good run for my money… I’ll let you know if they do.

Meanwhile, come on my lovelies; I know this is a controversial topic… let me know your thoughts.

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4 thoughts on “Second hand shopper’s feelings on fur

  1. I think you’ve put your point across really well. I can see both sides of the arguments really, although I’m more likely to side with you in terms of wearing vintage fur, as it’s a waste to chuck it out if it’s already out there.

    The reasons for wearing fur back in the day were more to do with warmth and comfort rather than fashion, which you touched upon.

    I have mixed views on fur in general, and I’m sure a lot of it comes from ignorance. For instance, I find it strange that a lot of people think snakeskin and leather is acceptable, but fur isn’t? I guess I kind of think if an animal is killed and skinned in a humane way, then it’s a little similar to killing for meat, isn’t it? Obviously, it’s a different situation if they’re killed in nasty and painful ways.

  2. This was really interesting and I followed your exchanges with @sianysianysiany on twitter at the time. I am vegetarian and would never wear fur, new or vintage. I won’t wear fake fur either. I have to confess that this is in part because I don’t like how it looks, but it is also because I think that wearing it does promote the idea that fur is a viable choice. I can’t dispute your argument that buying vintage fur is greener than fake fur from the high street, but that still wouldn’t be enough to convince me that wearing fur at all is a good idea. Like my vegetarianism, this is a personal choice for me and I wouldn’t try to bring you round to my point of view, but I do think that the wearing of any fur, vintage or new, is promoting an industry that I can’t agree with.

  3. Good post Cie and I’m with you with regard to wearing vintage furs.
    There is so much hypocrisy around this subject. Loud protesters who would NEVER wear fur will happily pay for leather boots, shoes, trousers, gloves, handbags and coats and think nothing of eating meat, fish game and poultry.
    Of course they always come up with an arguement which justifies their beliefs and the reality is we all do what suits us.

    I have a friend I really admire. She is a strict vegan but she never forces her views on anyone else, although she does gloat occasionally over the relative cheapness of her shoes! Oh yes, and she always looks stunning!

  4. Hey there Caroline’s mum!

    I think you’ve hit on it really well – “the reality is we all do what suits us”. I wouldn’t wear fur and don’t eat meat, but recognise this is more to do with the limits of what I feel comfortable with than any really deeply felt moral belief. I try hard not to preach – I don’t think that eating meat is inherently wrong, for example, it’s just something that I choose not to do.

    As always – these posts encourage thoughtful responses!

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