Sunday, November 04, 2012

Ethics vs Fashion: The Fur Debate

The Ongoing Fight For or Against The Fur Trade... 

              Throughout the past, the fashion world has been affected by several situations regarding the ethical choices that designers and consumers make. As each person has their own personal views on certain issues, the likelihood of all consumers to be completely satisfied runs low. One of the biggest controversies in the fashion world is fur for apparel, and the method of treatment upon those animals captured. This ongoing debate outlines the issues that arise when it comes to the way fur is acquired – either by trapping wild animals and skinning them, or raising animals domestically for their fur.

                Designer labels such as Christian Dior, Chanel, Burberry, and Prada just to name a few, are infamous for featuring animal fur and leather in their collections and are often criticized for the choices made during the production of their garments. Organizations like PETA and The Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade (CAFT) are world renown for their strong opinions against the use of fur or anything related to the unethical treatment of animals, and take any measures needed to make their points clear to the public. Recently, CAFT sent a message to all their followers to protest outside a Burberry store in their area and shed light on the secret behind this prestigious brand label.

                The fur debate is always a heated topic of discussion, as it brings the morals and strong beliefs of society to the surface. Essentially, there are two sides to this dispute. When asked about his standpoint on the issue, head designer and creative director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, defended the use of animal fur by saying that “beasts would kill us if they could”. He goes on to mention that "in a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and clothes and even handbags, the discussion of fur is childish" (2009). A spokesperson for PETA fights back, arguing that there is an increasing number of designers who believe that “there is no place for cruelty in fashion”, and that Karl is ignorant to the fact that there is suffering behind every piece of fur used for garment production.

                There will always be the underlying question that remains: is it morally acceptable to produce, promote, sell, purchase, and wear fur, even though animals are treated unethically? Does it make a difference to consumers or the general public if these animals were raised domestically for their fur? People can and will boycott the Fur Trade, but will the message to save them ever be taken seriously? The reality of it is that, in the Fashion Industry, there is such a large amount of consumers who want the most prestigious styles, and will spend their money on the most exclusive fashions, including the rarest of animal fur and skins. Many designers would not have the reputation they carry now if it was not for their elite fashion designs that feature real animal fur. Therefore, this trend is likely to grow into an even larger scale rather than diminish, as some consumers may hope.

No comments: