Vintage Fur: Is It Okay?

I doubt I have to tell you what I think about real fur: if you read Coffee and Heels, you pretty much know that there aren't many things out there that I hate as much as the fur industry. There simply aren't many other industries that are as cruel, as wasteful, and as unnecessary as the fur trade. So this post is not my contribution to the  fur "debate" (if you think there even has to be a "debate", then this is probably not your kind of blog...even so, feel free to read Coffee and Heels and give me a chance to change your mind!) but a venture into a specific branch of the fur area: vintage fur.

I don't get that angry when I see old ladies on the street in fur coats: the truth is, they really don't know better. In their days, the fur industry was cruel, but it was still far from the horror it is now. And there weren't as many warm, functional, and fashionable alternatives to it. It's when I see young women in fur jackets, fur-lined accessories or shoes (don't get me started on those hideous UGG things) that I get really upset. And when I express my concerns about this to people I know, some react in what seems to me like a very weird way: "oh, I totally agree with you! Real fur is horrible! I do have a mink coat, though. But it's vintage, so it's okay!"

...say what?

Okay, so the animals you're wearing (yes, animals, plural) weren't abused, tortured and killed yesterday, but in the 70s, 80s or so. What about this makes the abuse, the torture and the killing okay? It's still a bunch of dead animals you've got on there. And if you agree with me that torturing animals for fashion is a horrible thing, shouldn't you be choosing faux alternatives?
Excuses that vintage fur-wearers make:

"But it was a gift".
If someone gave me real fur as a gift (I see that as highly unlikely, because if you care enough about me to buy me such an expensive present, that means you know me well. And if you know me well, I'm probably one of the most passionately anti-fur people you know), I would take that person aside and explain that I'm grateful, but I think fur is very cruel and I will not get any use out of their gift. Then, I would inform them of what goes on in the fur trade. Think about it: people that see you on the street don't know it was a gift. To them, you're just saying that killing and hurting animals for fashion is cool, stylish and acceptable.

"But it was my mother's/grandmother's."
Listen, I'm really sorry your mom/grandma passed away and I hope you feel better. But didn't she have a nice ring or a pair of earrings you can remember her by? If not then I would probably just keep the fur to myself and not wear it out on the street, because I'm not comfortable sending that kind of message to the world. But that's just me.

"But it's just a little. It's not like I'm wearing a full-length coat."
I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but animals are actually killed just to make that fur-lined glove/scarf/hood look a bit more "luxe". It's not like the animal was already killed/dead for other reasons and they just took the "leftovers" to make your accessory. Sorry.

"But it´s already dead, so why not enjoy it instead of wasting it?
I personally find this argument very empty and shallow: okay, then go ahead and eat meat as well, it's already dead, so why throw it away? It's not like you killed it. And while we're at it, why not use animal-tested cosmetics? The harm has already been done, so be my guest! Hey, as long as we're not the ones actually doing the killing, we can still all call ourselves animal lovers (insert obvious irony). I believe that if you think that something is wrong, you think it's 100% wrong. And again, what you're sending out to the world isn't, "this animal died thirty years ago", it's "this animal suffered terribly for the coat that I am wearing."

When someone is about to be sent to jail for murder, there isn't anyone going, "oh, you know, it's okay because he's not a serial killer NOW - he was twenty years ago!" If you believe something's wrong, it's as wrong "vintage" as it is new.

What to do? Go faux!
I don't blame you if you're a fan of the furry look - many people go crazy for it. But you know, when it comes to fashion, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani and Miuccia Prada are rarely wrong - and they've all done faux fur in their fall/winter 2010 and 2011 collections. So there are plenty of other options!

When I interned with Swedish designer Patouf in 2009, Anna, the creative director, was in the middle of her winter collection, and she had this gorgeous faux-fur coat with a hood. It looked so luxurious and amazing. I tried it on and it felt fabulous. Then I had to carry it to a PR firm in the rain, and I was delighted to find out that even when it got rained on, it was free from that nasty wet-dog smell that's typical of real fur when the weather's rainy. Anna still makes amazing faux fur, and she's not the only one!

Some vegans think that even faux fur is wrong, as many people can't tell the difference. I agree and disagree: I don't wear faux fur myself, for that exact reason. But when other girls do, I applaud them for going faux! And if I were to ever wear a faux fur coat, it would be one of the beautiful, cruelty-free faux fur coats made with love by the talented Anna at Patouf.


  1. Cara Sasha io sono perfettamente d'accordo con te e ammiro molto la determinazione e l'impegno che metti nella difesa del tuo pensiero. Io amo gli animali e ho un cagnolino non molto più grande degli animali da pelliccia; quando ho visto un terribile video di una crudeltà incredibile su youtube mi sembrava che fosse lui la bestiolina torturata. Mi si stringe lo stomaco solo al pensiero e a parlarne.. Però,c'è un però.. Io una pelliccia vintage ammetto di averla, non la metto molto (1-2 volte all'anno al max) e quelle poche volte mi sento anche in colpa ma l'ho ereditata dalla nonna e per quanto io possa ricordarla con altre cose non me la sono sentita di smaltirla ed eliminarla anche perché a quei tempi (come hai scritto) aveva un altro significato. Io credo che se nessuno comprasse più sarebbe già un'ottima conquista e non perché sono da un certo lato della barricata ma perché ad oggi non è più tempo di queste cose.. Al di là del vera o finta la pelliccia invecchia,fa' sciùra.. ;) Tanto per sdrammatizzare un po'! Un abbraccio! E.

  2. Ho scritto male SasCha! Sorry,sorry,sorry! =.='

  3. E.G: certo, capisco, e questo è il punto di vista di molte persone, non solo il tuo. Infatti su questa questione mi va bene avere un dibattito, visto che, come dici tu, non l'hai comprata e non hai scelto di indossarne una vera piuttosto che una finta. Poi,tua nonna veniva da altri tempi, altri ragionamenti e altri metodi. E penso che eliminarla o smaltirla non risolverebbe il problema, ma non usarla o usarla meno di sicuro migliorerebbe le cose!

    Però io parlavo proprio di quel "sentirsi in colpa" che tu hai nominato. Alcune persone, pur dichiarandosi d'accordo con me, non lo sentono. Ed è questo che io metto in questione.

    Va bene anche Sasha senza la C! Basta che non è Sacha senza la S...

  4. eh, stessa situazione: mia mamma vuole per forza darmi le sue.. però io non ci riesco!

  5. Economista: brava. Chiedi se ha un bel gioiello che potrebbe regalarti!

  6. Åh vad jag älskar det här inlägget! Älskar att du brinner så starkt för det du skriver, att du verkligen står för det du säger och älskar dessutom den vita fake-pälsen! Love love love!

  7. Great Post!
    I completely agree.
    Wearing fur is just an induced desire as for many years people have been considering them a status Symbol.
    It's just a deadly business and wearing it a violence and dead message.

  8. i'm in love with those two fluffy jackets! i should really go and get me one! great blog, dear! i'll be following! i would be cheerful if you'd stop by sometime and follow back!

    <3 from stockholm,
    xx mika



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