In the last 9 years, across Europe, countries like Sweden, England and Wales and The Netherlands have either banned or are phasing out, fur farming. This month our own government confirmed that it would phase out fur farming in Ireland within the next three years. Where many of us feel morally conflicted with the idea of the wearing and farming of fur, I had a bit of an episode today that made me re-consider wearing it…
I admit it, I came this close to buying a vintage fur coat today… literally this close, but I didn’t do it. I wouldn’t have considered buying it had it been brand new and sitting in the window of furrier shop, but the fact was, I knew the animal that died to make this coat was killed a long time ago. Long before it was ethically debatable to kill animals solely for their pelt. The coat itself was beautiful, it was a classic 3/4 length, with full-length sleeves a plain collar and single clasp in front but it was something else that made me debate buying it.
It was being sold for around €30 and I couldn’t help thinking what a terrible waste it was that an animal died to make a coat that may never be worn again if I didn’t buy it. From fashion designers to animal activists, everyone has an opinion about the killing of animals for the sole purpose of using their fur for fashion. I’m not here to preach mine, but simply put a question to you. Is it more acceptable to wear vintage / second-hand fur, which is bought from a vendor with no connections to the fur-trade, than it is to buy new? Let me just make myself clear, when I say fur I’m talking about fur garments made from animals that are solely used for that purpose. Animals like fox and mink etc.. not endangered animals, like leopard and tiger nor animals that are used for other purposes, like rabbit and goat. It’s a strange phenomenon, blog readers and writers and even friends of mine will say, “yeah, I wear fur, but only vintage…”
In Europe, there is a law against the sale and importation / exportation of ivory. It is banned outright which means it is illegal to ‘deal’ in it unless it is a proven antique. If it is worked, i.e. carved, it has to be pre June 1st, 1947, if un-worked; it must be over 200 years old. I have no desire to own something that once belonged to a now endangered species, but there is something relevant to the fur issue here. Should there be a specific date agreed, which would specify that a garment made of fur is vintage? Ivory is dated as such because it was banned then, fox and mink fur is not illegal nor does it come from endangered animals so how could a date be decided? The difference is that the debate is solely a moral one; should animals be made to suffer in appalling and debilitating conditions just so that we can wear a nice coat? Of course not.
The fact is that both the fur coats and the ivory art already exist, they were made and have survived. Should they be destroyed or in the case of fur, worn and enjoyed for as long as possible? Some may argue that wearing a vintage fur may encourage other people to buy new furs, I’m not sure that I agree with this theory. If I saw someone wearing vintage fur it may make me consider wearing vintage fur, but that’s it. I’m still unsure what I feel about this debate; would I buy vintage fur? I know I didn’t today but I’m not sure that I never will.
The other option is to leave vintage fox and mink alone and go for one of these instead:
Clockwise from top left: Rue du mail by Martine Sitbone rabbit fur jacket £2755, net-a-porter.com. Preen Aztec Shearling coat £1855, net-a-porter.com. Burberry Prorsum rabbit and goat fur jacket £2495, net-a-porter.com. Faux fur coat £50 newlook.co.uk. Big foot fur coat £150 frenchconnection.co.uk. Vintage style faux fur coat £120 topshop.com.