100 Days of Fur: Day 8

My first 8 days of fur wearing have been completely hassle and abuse-free. However, the past few days have ended up being a fur learning curve for me, as my last post about my fur problems resulted in some very educational responses from people working in the fur industry.

Rather than recap what I have learnt, I am quoting one of the lovely people from the fur industry, who shed (pardon the pun) some light on my fur problems.

The first one was the shedding, last week I left a trail of hairs everywhere I went…

“Your coats are shedding because they are vintage, but also (especially) because RABBIT is one of the most FRAGILE (and least expensive) of all the furs.  Fox can also be quite fragile.  You wouldn’t be having the same problem with mink or beaver or raccoon or other stronger furs.  So it’s great that the price of rabbit is accessible (and it is soft, and fun, and a by-product of food production), but the price you pay is that it is quite fragile and often sheds (although I hear that some of the rabbits now being sold are dressed differently and are stronger….especially the “Rex Rabbits” — which can mimic chinchilla  — which is another fragile but expensive fur.)”

And with regards to worries about wearing my bag on the shoulder, and therefore destroying the the fur on the shoulder…

“As for wearing out the shoulders….same story.  One has to be very careful with fragile furs; not really for mink, beaver and stronger furs.”

My grandmother's beaver coat.

I wasn’t surprised to find out all of my coats were cheap and old, I figured this would be the root of my fur problems. So I told my mother I was desperate for a beaver coat, and she whipped out the number above. It belonged to my grandmother in France. It is very heavy, but has a great cut as it nips in at the waist. And it is WARM. I will be wearing it this week.

However these past few days have also a very sad time for my fur collection. I have a beautiful fox and leather coat which I love dearly, and which is now falling apart. The coat is black leather and has chevrons of white fox. I wore it work on Thursday, and one of the chevrons tore. I managed to patch it up long enough to get me through the day, but the rest of the chevrons were beginning to tear as well.

The following day I took it to Pappas furs, and showed it to Walter, the Master Furrier there. He told me to throw the coat away (SOB!) This was not the first time this has happened, in England a few years ago I was told by a fantastic furrier there to throw away a gorgeous mink blazer as it had been infected by moths. Walter told me my chevron number had “dry rot.” We then discussed the dangers of buying second hand furs (I had paid $100 for that coat, and I have only worn it twice) and so I have decided to follow up with a  guide on buying second hand furs. Watch this space.

Fortunately the Pappas trip was not all disaster. I left them with a beautiful fox skin which Walter is transforming into a scarf for me, as well as a blue and a fuchsia fox tail which will be transformed into trinkets I can hang off a handbag. And I took home the beautiful number above. This tent-shaped grey coat has incredible volume and beautiful puffed sleeves. I can’t wait to debut my two newly acquired furs this week!

Dreaming about this hat

Here in Montreal, there is no snow yet and I’m torn between the anticipation of wearing my new (and first!) fur coat and the the depressing idea of shoveling snow in wet jeans.
But it’s getting really cold and windy, specially today. I noticed that many Montrealers are not waiting until the first snow fall to wear the real heavy duty coats our winter demands (hello Canada Goose!)  But if you are like me, still resisting wearing the bulky winter coat, keep your head warm with a cute fur hat! I am dreaming about this one:

Leather aviator hat trimmed with Golden Island fox. Source: http://www.beautifullycanadian.com

It’s bold and over the top, exactly how I like my accessories! You like?
– Alice

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100 Days of Fur: Day 3

I was planning on easing myself into this experiment slowly, starting with some safer pieces and moving to the larger and more over-the-top fur jackets later in the experiment, but on Monday it was freezing in Vancouver (-7℃ is very cold for us West Coasters!) so I decided to wear my big white rabbit jacket, which is probably my most over-the-top fur piece after my fox skins. You can’t tell in this photo, but it has quite big 80’s style shoulders.

I went to work downtown, and during my work day popped into various coffee shops, and a few clothing stores (oops) and no one said anything about my jacket, nor did I get any dirty looks. A few colleagues asked me if the jacket was real fur, and when I confirmed it was, they then proceeded to envy me, as I was quite warm in my lovely fur jacket while their synthetics were not doing the job.

But I am going to be honest in this experiment, so I will need to write about two issues I am struggling with. The first one is the fact that I am leaving a trail of fur everywhere I go. My car is covered in stray hairs. I don’t know if this is because all of my furs are vintage, but it is quite annoying. I am now armed with a lint remover at all times (and will look into the cause and possible solutions to this problem.)

The other problem I am having is that with my Day 1 and Day 3 jackets, which are all entirely in fur, I am somewhat limited with my choice of handbags. I like bags that fit on my shoulder, but I know if I carry heavy bags on my shoulder, the straps will rub against the fur and damage it. So I am carrying everything in my hand. That is definitely something to think about when purchasing fur, as I have already ruined a rabbit bomber jacket by carrying bags in the same place on the shoulder, it is now bare of hair.

Other than those two issues, I am truly enjoying being warm in my fur, and am planning on looking into buying another piece very soon, preferably something black so that if it does shed at all, the hairs will blend into my mostly black wardrobe.

To read the full story on the 100 Days of Fur experiment, click here.

100 Days of Fur: Day 1

A few months ago we were trying to figure out the reasons why people don’t wear fur. Is it because of the animal welfare? For most people, I don’t think so. We all know that animals are a part of our lives, we eat them, use them to make our shoes, and we wear them on our bodies. So we have accepted that as humans, we consume animals, and providing it is done in the most ethical and sustainable ways possible, we are ok with this. I realised the reason why I don’t wear a lot of fur is beacuse I am scared of people giving me hassle.

When I thought about it, I realised that it was wrong. So wrong. How can I let someone with different beliefs than me try and tell me, or intimidate me, into not wearing what I want? It is morally wrong. Just like animal rights activists don’t stand outside Safeway and scream at people buying steaks, or no government should tell a woman to cover her face, no one should make me feel uncomfortable for wearing fur. But then I was told it isn’t the case. No one will bother you when you wear fur, I was told. Everyone has told me that aside from the rare dirty look from a teenager, they have never been hassled when wearing fur.

Day 1: uneventful.

So I decide to put it to the test, and wear fur for 100 days straight. My Montreal fur-wearing friends obviously have very few problems, as it is quite common to wear fur there. But in Vancouver, the situation is different. Animal right activists have been, well, very active recently. I want to see what will, or what won’t, happen to me if I wear fur for 100 days. This has become an experiment to benefit everyone who has a beaufiul rabbit jacket, fox collar, or mink coat, and is worried about the consequences of wearing them. I’m hoping to prove that fur is not only warm and beautiful, but it also very safe to wear.

I’ve got a few rules, or shall I say guidelines, that I am following during these 100 days.

  1. I will wear a visible item of fur every day that I leave the house (it is unlikely that I will ever have a day where I don’t leave the house, because I have a dog that needs to be walked, but if I am sick in bed, I may not be able to wear any fur. I will, however, wrap myself in a rabbit blanket for the benefit of the experiment.)
  2. Items can include coats, jackets, scarves, collars, shoes, etc… anything that has a visible piece of real fur on it. I’m aiming for the larger pieces, but I also don’t want to be seen wearing the same few coats every day for the next few months.
  3. I will photograph my outfits occasionally, and I will write a post at least once a week updating you on anything that happens
  4. I’ll be honest about the negative stuff, although I am hoping there won’t be any
  5. I’m staying anonymous throughout this experiement, simply because I don’t want the activists making my life hell, and ruining the experiment.

Today, day 1, I wore my giant hooded fur jacket with knit trim. I haven’t quite identified the fur the jacket is made out of, since I bought it vintage in Paris many years ago, but it is very warm. I went to Ikea and wore the jacket inside the entire time I was in the store (hours…) and then I went to lunch at my aunt’s where everyone asked me whether the coat was real or not. A few said it was beautiful, and I didn’t encounter a sneer or negative comment the entire day. Success!

Anna Sui Leopard-print Pabbit Bolero

Anna Sui Fall Winter 2010 catwalk show.

This is such cute fur bolero, and I love the way it was worn over a printed dress for the catwalk show, in Anna Sui‘s typical bohemian style. Of course you could easily wear this over something a bit more simple, like a black dress (I know I’m boring, but I mostly wear black…)

Available from Net A Porter.