Posted by the Fashion Editor at Large
I hate to say it, but the battle betwee the anti-fur camp and the fur-wearing brigade has been won by the fur-wearers. That means Anna Wintour has won. The foxes cowering in a cage somewhere in Norway have lost. The International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF) have triumphed and People for the Ethical treatment of Animals (PETA) have failed.
I came to this conclusion yesterday while reading the Evening Standard letters page when a certain Georgina Langford, the VEGETARIAN events manager for a magazine named Glass, wrote in to say:
"I am both a vegetarian and a vintage fur wearer. Although I do not condone the continued killing of animals for food and fashion, and would never buy a new fur, the pelts for most vintage coats were produced more than 30 years ago. It is surely better to wear these beautiful garments than leave them to moulder in attics, which is akin to throwing away half-eaten steak. Vintage fur coats epitomise winter glamour; fake fur leaves the wearer wanting the real deal. Last year I treated myself to an Arctic fox jacket and during this cold snap it has been worth every penny. To save on heating bills and reduce my carbon footprint, I often wear it indoors."
I have never read such a load of ill-informed, wrong-headedness in my life. How can someone wear fur and be a vegetarian at the same time? I just do not understand it. Stella McCartney needs to have a word with this girl. And because the animal died before she was born, that makes it OK does it? I fear this girl has been bitten by the "fashion dunce" bug, in which a normally bright girl becomes an airhead in the name of being fashionable. Even the caption written by an Evening Standard sub-editor suggesting Ms Langford "epitomise[s] winter glamour" caused my hackles to rise.
Obviously, the reason I am on the subject of fur wearing is due to how this cold snap (another three inches of snow in West London over-night) has revealed the true face of the fur-wearing public in London. It is so much bigger than I EVER imagined. Walking the dog I see old ladies in fur coats. Not rich ladies; locals. In and around town I see young cute fashiony girls in rabbit fur bomber jackets, fox stoles; Arctic fox belted coats, you name it. I can't help thinking the battle is lost.
The British Fur Trade Association estimate that worldwide sales of fur totalled more than $15 billion towards the end of the naughties – marking a decade of continued growth.
It seems the public perception of wearing fur is that it is not just OK to wear fur, it is fashionable to wear fur. Meaning that more and more animals will have to be farmed just for their pelts, with no usable by-products for human consumption.
I know a lot about the fur industry. I have been to a fur farm, and heavily researched the area. This was done in my own attempt to ethically decide for myself whether wearing fur was right or wrong. I then wrote about my quest in the Saturday Telegraph Magazine.
After a great deal of work and thought I came to the conclusion that, as a meat-eater, I would wear the by-products of the animals I do eat. So leather for shoes and bags, feathers for pillows and padded winter coats, wool for sweaters, and sheepskin for boots, hats, gloves.
That works for me, and I can stand up for my reasons for wearing animals. Georgina Langford's "reasons" for wearing fur are pathetic. The Fashion Junior at Large is also a vegetarian, and would NEVER wear fur. We've just had a long chat about why she DIDN'T/COULDN'T buy a coat with a fur collar at the weekend, and I have asked to to write all about it for us. So look out for that in the next few hours. In the meantime let's ponder those shots of Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss wearing fox.
Photo credits: REX FEATURES