VOGUE on fur
Daria "so gorgeous it hurts" Werbowy photographed by Patrick Demarchelier on VOGUE's September 2013 cover
I'm not a huge VOGUE reader - it's too much "look at all the tennisball-sized diamonds on this 'society' girl whose name means nothing to you!" for my taste, but when I do read VOGUE, it's pretty much always VOGUE UK. The US version is even more show-offy, full of ads and "socialités" (which is just a fancy word for "unemployed") wearing Ralph Lauren, while the Italian one just doesn't do anything for me. I'm not drawn in by it at all, whereas Alexandra Shulman's beautiful, polished yet interesting magazine sometimes makes for luxurious reading, or just flipping through the glossy pages with their stunning photos.
This month's September issue is jam-packed - my arm actually hurt a bit carrying it home yesterday. I love the beyond-beautiful Daria Werbowy on the cover (David has an enormous crush on her - and can you blame him?) and very much enjoyed her editorial and interview - did you know she lives in Cork and is married to a carpenter? Awesome. But one of the main reasons why I was curious about this issue is that this time VOGUE turned their attentions to a quite sticky subject and one that's particularly important to me - FUR! VOGUE journalist Emily Sheffield actually travelled to Denmark to see a mink farm and investigate the fur trade. Even if I have mixed feelings about the article itself, I'm glad that VOGUE took the step to actually speak out about this very important issue. And it had to be VOGUE UK - I seriously doubt this article would pop up in pelt-pusher Wintour or more-is-more luxury queen Sozzani's respective publications.
There are lots of issues with the piece - first of all, why did VOGUE only visit a Danish fur farm, when most fur we see in designer collections today comes from China, where there are NO animal rights regulations? Secondly, why the implication that animals skinned alive doesn't really happen? Newsflash VOGUE, it does. It happens all the time. Thirdly, in what universe does it make sense to talk about "humane" gassing? What is humane about gassing hundreds of living creatures to death - not for necessity, but for luxury? Shows how much "socialités" care about anyone's suffering except their own (on the occasion they break a nail). And lastly, why always bring meat into the picture? The issue here is fur, not meat or leather. And yes, it is justifiable to eat meat, use leather and say no to fur. IT IS OKAY. You are not a hypocrite if you do this. Heck, it's even okay to eat certain types of meat and not others! I'm the vegan and I'm telling you that as long as you're doing SOMETHING, we applaud you, even if you're not doing EVERYTHING.
Even so, I'm so glad that VOGUE mentioned the fact that so many shops, both high-street and designer (Zara, Topshop, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few) have an anti-fur policy, the fact that 95% of UK women wouldn't wear fur and quotes from PETA and Stella McCartney - the couture goddess of fur free.
By the way VOGUE, you got it wrong: Stella McCartney DOES use "animal ingredients" in her designs, she uses wool and silk, but she does not use leather or fur. And that's not the only thing they missed. The journalist concluded saying she'd be okay with wild fox fur but not farmed - what about the foxes agonizing in traps and bleeding to death? What about foxes' tails cut off and the animals being left to bleed to death in the wild? Furthermore, Sheffield mentions that "no one sanctions animals being skinned alive, especially not the regulated fur industry". Hello? What about that huge country in the East where virtually all fur comes from these days, China? What regulations? I'd love it if we could step out of the pink rainbow fairytale and stop pretending that high fashion designers only use quality materials that are produced locally by happy, adult, well-paid workers. Because, do a little digging and you'll find that the Cavallis and the Guccis of the world ain't no better than our H&Ms and GAPs, people. With the difference that the high street says NO to fur.
It feels like VOGUE aimed to get both sides of the story out there and they (kind of) did. Except, you know, they're VOGUE and they can't really risk alienating sixty-or-so designers that do use fur and frequently advertise in the magazine. So I'll let their benevolent attitude towards fur slide and applaud them for actually bringing light to the issue. But for all of you reading the article and going, "phew": NO. This is not the whole truth. See what actually goes on here (go on and click, there are no nasty pictures or videos guys). Then tell me how "humane" that sounds to you.
It's 2013 people - like Stella McCartney says, there's no need for fur anymore. Heck, we even grow hamburgers in labs these days, it's so sad that we're still killing living creatures by the thousands to drape them around Russian housewives. Fur is unnecessary. Killing for luxury is unnecessary. Cruelty has no place in fashion.
Filed Under: thoughts