Friend or Faux?

Teddy bear coats and faux leopard prints have taken fashion by storm over the past winter months. However, faux fur is no longer just a fashion verbal expression. It is a consequential political one. In the past, animal skins and furs were a luxury reserved for rulers, nobility and the elite. Its prevalence in the fashion industry became a visual guidance of financial status and wealth, becoming increasingly popular with women of high society.

While animal activists commenced to target fur in fashion in the 1970s, it was not until 1994 that high-profile models including Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford posed unclad for PETA in a campaign labelled ‘I’d rather go naked than wear fur.’ Nowadays, the stand against animal cruelty is more vigorous than ever as faux fur is at immensely colossal in this winter’s trends.

Stella McCartney, the pristine pioneer of ‘ethical fashion,’ has gradually but surely paved the way for high-end brands to ditch the fur. Gucci and Burberry are just two of the many brands that have recently hopped onto the ethical bandwagon in a stand against animal cruelty, and even Donatella Versace has turned her back on the trend, verbally expressing “Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.”

Fundamental to the future of cruelty-free fashion is social media. Today’s adolescent users of Instagram are more concerned with the ethical implicative insinuations of the fashion industry as ecological vigilance becomes more fashionable. Consequently, the trepidation of online attack alongside the benefit of plaudits for going fur-free, has resulted in an influx of high-profile influencers advocating for ethical and sustainable fashion. The impact of this is that brands have had to evolve using faux fur, in order to maintain their millennial clients.

However, the big question is: Is this just a trend or is this lasting change?

While veganism is often dismissed as a passing trend amongst millennials, its elevating popularity and subsequent vicissitudes in the fast food industry such as McDonalds and Greggs, as well as major supermarkets, suggests the possibility of its longevity. This generation’s concern for ethical and sustainable alternatives is firmly entrenching itself in many aspects of consumerism. This signals that fur’s reign in fashion is well and truly over. Along with the number of high-end brands that have publicly denounced any use of fur, it seems the future is bright.

Wearing real fur fashion continues to be unfashionable as well as being morally wrong. The combination of brands and governments taking a stand is vital in ensuring fashion remains fur-free. This is pushing us ever so closer to an animal cruelty free world.

By Lizzy Cochrane, Culture Editor

Sources: wwd.com, bbc.com

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