I liked the conversation we had the other day about fur.
First, I want to say that I felt like for once, this subject was able to be discussed without anyone losing it.
It’s quite rare to have a real conversation about fur on the internet. Unless you love angry tweets thrown your way, we all tend to avoid it.
This time around, everyone came together with a huge amount of a respect, so thanks to all of you.
After reading through your very interesting comments (I learned a heck of a lot. If you ever have questions about fur, I recommend that you go through them too), I think I have put my finger on what I think about fur.
Before we get to that though, let me say a few things about how I got here.
I’m not a vegetarian. I grew up in a family where we ate a lot of vegetables and some meat. We’d buy meat at the very best butcher in town and when it was there, we really took time to taste it.
My father is a restauranteur and a chef.
He cooked meat – but especially fish. I remember in our restaurant, we had a lobster tank with live lobsters and when a client would order one, my father would have to fish one out and take it alive to the kitchen. I could hear the lobster squealing in his hands.
And then he’d grab a huge knife and cut it in two, still alive.
It was pretty shocking for a child but I grew up in a village with cows and goats and chickens and at times when we’d have to kill them and eat them.
I’ve seen animals be killed many times. It’s sad and fascinating at the same time.
Later on, I stopped trusting meat. First there was the mad-cow scare, but now that I’ve moved to the States, I’m weary of the hormones used in meat and how the animals are raised and what kind of effect that eating all that could have to my health.
I’m more conscious of what I eat.
When I’m asked if I’d like chicken on an airplane, for example, I think about just how many people in the world are offered the same dinner, and then I imagine the millions of chickens. And then I think about how those chickens are raised and then yikkkessss.
I’ll have the pasta please.
So yeah, I don’t eat meat very often these days, and only when I know where it comes from.
I think I’m much less conscientious when it comes to what I wear though. I like leather a lot. I find it a sensual fabric, I just like it.
Most of the time, I don’t stop and think a second about where that leather pair of shoes, that bag, or those leather shorts for $200 I found last time I was at Topshop are made.
But I mean, leather has to come from some place too, you know?
So back we come to fur.
I haven’t always loved fur. Back in Corsica a pretty warm country, I didn’t see a lot around me.
Plus in the 90s, there was that anti-fur campaigns led by top-models (some of whom wear fur today, but that’s another subject), and I think it had a real effect. Fur became totally outdated.
You’d see it on older women, like a time-capsule of past fashions.
It was charming, but obsolete.
And then suddenly bam! Fur is back.
I started thinking it was really beautiful. I’d get pictures of people in it. I wore some myself, vintage, mind you, but not because of any kind of conviction. I never thought the argument that “Oh, it’s vintage” made the wearer somehow more respectful.
For me, fur is fur, end of story.
Little by little, I started seeing it everywhere, all price ranges, on all the girls.
Then one day, during a fashion week, right in front of a show, my stomach just didn’t feel right.
I don’t know what got me, maybe something about the amount of furs per square foot or something (both on the catwalks and on the street) suddenly made my heart ache — a little like the chicken on the airplane.
It was the first time in a few years that I stopped and thought about fur. It takes time to form an opinion on stuff like this, since we live in a society where killing animals for food and clothing has been around since the dawn of time.
And it’s hard too to be totally clear on what you decide. Because if one day I decide that I’m against fur, that’ll also mean that I’m against leather and that Chateaubriand steak from Paper Moon (eeeeek).
I struggle to understand why people’s radical ways of thinking don’t get pushed to its logical conclusion.
That’s one of the reasons why I admire Stella McCartney so much.
So pushes her ideas through.
Reading your comments helped me understand what my position is for the moment.
What gets me is not the life and death of animals – as a human being raised in the culture I was raised in, philosophically, I can live with that.
What bothers me is how things are done.
An endangered animal, big no. An animal living a miserable existance (we’ve all seen the horrible images of animals being beaten in cages) is the last thing I want to be feeding and clothing me.
A farm animal raised and slaughtered with respect, I’m not against that.
But the other thing to is not only how things are done on the producer’s side, but how we do it on the consumer side.
I want to learn to have more respect for what I consume.
What I always think is interesting with the older women I talked about a few paragraphs ago is the relationship they have with their furs. Most of them treat their fur as something they’d keep for life. Sure, it’s an exterior symbol of wealth, but it’s also considered a treasure, an heirloom to be cherished and only brought out for the most important moments.
But today, we always want more, something new, something cheaper, and a season later we forget what we liked the season before.
It’s too bad, because there’s a real joy in moderation.
Think of having only one watch, like Charlotte and her Baignoire from Cartier. Or a bag that’s your signature, like Grace and her Kelly. Timeless stuff that lives on.
And maybe, if you really want one, a fur, that you’ll cherish for the years to come, bought from a respectful furrier…
I’m not saying we all need to become nuns – I’m the first to go off about the merits of Zara and less expensive clothing (not even mentioning the whole conversation about the conditions of how some of these clothes are made, otherwise we’d have a whole new thing going here), which makes all these other arguments a little hypocritical…
A little like the fur conversation.
But what’s so strong about fur is that it’s visually striking. A visibility that makes us react. And that’s a good thing!
We have to start somewhere.
So that’s where I stand. I respect other points of view, whether you are for or against fur – and I have even more respect for those who ask themselves questions about everything, and ask me questions too!
Personally, I don’t think I’m ready to buy a fur, but I wouldn’t have the hypocrisy to congratulate myself about it – because I’m not ready to replace my leather shoes or bags with synthetics either.
I’m not going to stop shopping at Zara anytime soon but just on a personal level, I’ve already started a while back trying to buy less and not promote the whole “all new, all the time” thing on this blog and elsewhere.
Yes, we talk about fashion, but also about style, and classic pieces you can keep for decades to come.
For me, that’s true fashion… It’s style and style is timeless.
And to me, that is a key role for the luxury industry to play in the years to come.
I’ll try to evolve, to really reflect on things and I hope we can continue our conversation about fashion but also about sustainability, all together and with respect, because there will be no future to style, beauty, and fashion if there aren’t beautiful people standing up and asking questions.