PETA’s Unfair Attack on the Fur Industry

The fur industry is often targeted unfairly by members of groups like PETA. While PETA is technically against using animals in any way (including keeping them as pets!), they never seem to be as aggressive towards the meat eating populace as they are to fur wearers. In the past, PETA has gone out of their way to interrupt fashion shows, attack designers outside of their stores, and stage gruesome public displays against fur. They usually make the claim that no one should wear fur because it is an excessive luxury and the fur industry is wasteful, capturing the animals only for their fur and not using any other parts.

Donna Karan, Protest, Fur, PETA

PETA hard at work annoying shoppers.

The argument that the fur indsutry is “wasteful” is completely unfounded. While we may not think of animals like beaver, muskrat, raccoon and rabbit as conventional food, many people do consume these animals as a part of their diet. What isn’t consumed by humans is used in other ways. Mink oil is used in cosmetics, the carcasses are composted to make organic fertilizer. (In Europe, mink is sometimes now used to make biofuels!) Much of the wild-caught animal carcasses are left in the wilderness, to complete the cycle and become food for hungry birds, mice and other animals through the long cold winter. Fur Is Green has a great video on their site about the mink farms in Denmark. You can view it here, and see for yourself how the animals are treated from life to death, as well as how the rest of the mink is used.

Why would PETA waste so much time on such a small industry? The number of animals harvested annually for the fur industry barely makes a dent in our animal consumption as a whole. Of the animals slaughtered every year in North America, almost 10 billion animals are used for food, 6 million farmed-raised mink and foxes are killed for their fur, and about 6 millions wild animals are trapped. So the animals used for fur represent less than 0.1% (0.0012) of the number consumed for food. Add the millions of abandonned animals euthanized in humane shelters, millions more killes on our highways, others used for medical research, etc., and we quickly put the real impact of the fur trade into fair perspective. Put even more simply: most of us eat animals at least once a day; how often do you buy a fur coat?!

Rosa Mori, Furs, Fur Coats,

Not as often as we'd like to! Beautiful fur coats from Rosa Mori Furs.

Perhaps PETA attacks the fur industry in such a disproportionate fashion because they know that most people eat meat and aren’t going to give it up any time soon (barely 3% of the Canada’s population practices vegetarianism, with an even smaller percentage of that number living a vegan lifestyle). Why pick a fight you know you can’t win when it is so easy to prey (excuse the pun) upon a tiny, artisanal, family-run sector that lacks the financial clout to fight back? Come to think of it: if the PETA-folks had any real ethical conviction, instead of harassing women wearing fur, maybe they should be picketing motorcycle gangs for their use of leather!

The USDA has the numbers on the animals slaughtered for food every year.

The US Fur Commission has some great information on the mink industry and its by products.

Donna Karan protest image from Trendhunter
Fur coat images from Rosa Mori.

This article has been updated  July 12, 2011

Fair Fur at Todd Lynn

Todd Lynn, Saga Furs, fox, mink, autumn winter 2011

Todd Lynn's Autumn Winter 2011 collection features furs from Saga Furs.

Todd Lynn featured some very beautiful furs in his Autumn Winter 2011 collection. The Canadian designer, who is based in London, has a very “open” relationship with the fur industry. He collaborates with Saga Furs for his collections, and is very clear about his reasons for using fur:

“I am very careful about where my products come from. I work with Saga fur – it comes from Finland, they have a vested interest in proper product and breeding, and the animals have to be treated properly. I’m not a heartless person, but for those of us who work in high-end fashion, there are certain things we need to use. Fur is something my clients want. You make the choice. We don’t do a lot of it – it’s just part of the collection, the way leather is.” -Todd Lynn

If only more designers would take this approach.

Todd Lynn, Saga Furs, fox, mink, autumn winter 2011

Saga Furs provided Faun Light Fox and Mink for Todd Lynn's AW11 collection.

Images from

Vintage Fur jacket GIVEAWAY!

100 days of fur was a personnal experiment and it has been a great opportunity to learn a lot about different fur types and styles. I received great support from the fur industry, which was wonderful because I had thousands of questions (thank you again Beautifully Canadian, Fur Council of Canada and Pappas Furs). I also want to give special thanks to Theo from Trend Furs who sent me a special package all the way from Germany: a box full of vintage furs, including a beautiful jacket that I wore at London Fashion Week. Also thanks to Steven Goodman, in Toronto, who also sent me some fabulous vintage to round out my wardrobe!

I want to share the generosity with my readers so I saved this coat for a GIVEAWAY!

After asking around, we came to the conclusion that this coat is made from mink pieces — the parts cut off when the original coat was trimmed to the pattern. The oval shapes create a beautiful effect. The pictures don’t do it justice, the fur is really lustrous, light brown with golden tones, in great condition for a vintage piece. The lining was worn, so my friends at Beautifully Canadian asked Montreal designer Minos at Jean Crisan Furs to change it. The jacket fits a size 8 or 10 US, but as you can see in the photo, it can be belted to fit smaller, and can probably work on a size 12 too!

Here is your chance to be the proud owner of a vintage fur coat! Easy steps to enter the giveaway:
– Follow us on FaceBook and Twitter
– Leave a comment on this post!
– Winner will be chosen at random.
– Contest ends Friday, April 8th.

(The winner will be contacted via the email you use for the comments form)

Good luck!

Total Luxe: Loewe Made to Order

Loewe, fur coats, luxury furs, made to measure, fox, feathers

Fox and feather coat.

These made-to-order leather and fur pieces from Spanish luxury brand Loewe are to die for! I am especially in love with the pieces that combine fur and feathers. Featuring model Alessandra Ambrosio.

Loewe, fur coats, luxury furs, made to measure, mink coat

Gradient mink coat with leather belt.

Loewe, fur coats, luxury furs, made to measure, finn racoon

Napa Icon half coat with detachable finn racoon.

Loewe, fur coats, luxury furs, made to measure, fox, feathers

Fox and feathers jacket.

Continue reading

Brand Profile: Hockley

Hockley, fox fur, muskrat, squirrel fur

Hockley AW11: Left, grey wool parka with squirrel lining & fox trim. Right, golden aqua musquash & fox coat with detachable bolero.

During my trip to London for fashion week, I visited the Hockley store and showroom, a very old, traditional London furrier who launched their own label in 2007. Their creative director, Izzet Irs, showed me their beautiful autumn winter 2011 collection.

Hockley, mink coat, mink

Hockley AW11: Left, reverisble navy mink coat with neoprene lining. Right, brown multi-colour mink coat wiht reflective inserts.

Irs explained to me that he wanted to design a brand, not a fur brand, and his intentions have been very well-received. Harrods, the famous London department store, sells Hockley in their womenswear department, not in their fur department.

Hockley, knitwear, mink, fox

Hockley AW11: Left, silver ash mink & fox layered on jersey coat. Right, silver ash punched mink & knit jacket.

For autumn winter 2011, Irs wanted to make a collection that was almost all reversible, which meant a lot of wool coats lined in fur and knit pieces that could be worn inside out. He worked with a lot of fox, chinchilla, rex rabbit, and mink, and kept the colour palette very neutral, featuring grey, silver, taupe, and navy, and the result is a very modern, beautiful, desirable outerwear collection.

Hockley, knitted fur, chinchilla, fox, squirrel fur

Hockley AW11: Left, grey wool parka with squirrel lining and fox trim. Right, dusty grey knitted chinchilla & fox jacket.

Click here for the rest of the Hockley AW11 collection

Daria Werbowy, Venus in Furs

Daria Werbowy, canadian top model, Venus in furs, fur, V magazine, editorial, black and white pictures, fashion pictures

A mix of silver and black fox to show off those legs!

Canadian supermodel Daria Werbowy is a real goddess in this editorial for V magazine (shot by Nathaniel Goldberg.) These pictures combine my favorite things: black and white photography, a Canadian top model and fur. Just imagine the fun they had shooting these images!

Daria Werbowy, W magazine, fur, editorials, Venus in furs

I love the movement on this picture

Daria Werbowy, V magazine, fur, editorials, Venus in furs

Mink (I think) with laser-cuts to create diamond shapes

 This great coat is a good example of the fun designers are having experimenting with fur. This looks like a mink coat to me (it’s hard to be 100% sure with pictures). Designers can now create a wide variety of effects with laser-cut, carving and grooving.

Daria Werbowy, Venus in Furs, V magazine, fur, editorials

The best close-up ever

Daria Werbowy, Venus in furs, editorial, V magazine, fur

THe most beautiful smile! This is how my fur coat makes me feel too!

Daria Werbowy, canadian top model, Venus in furs, fur, V magazine, editorial, black and white pictures, fashion pictures

Chinchilla, one of the most luxurious fur one can desire

Daria Werbowy, canadian top model, Venus in furs, fur, V magazine, editorial, black and white pictures, fashion pictures

Is it a blanket? I would definitively sleep in that!

 Images from Fashion Gone Rogue

100 Days of Fur: Day 40

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

Yesterday I received a box of vintage furs from one of our “furrier friends” in Toronto. My favourite was this black sheep coat with the mink collar. It has a beautiful trapeze shape and a stunning gold lining. I wore it out for dinner last night, and once again, I got nothing but compliments. It is strange that now that I am almost halfway through this experiment, fur has essentially become a part fo my every day life. I love it. And I’m warm.

100 Days of Fur: Day 34

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

My rabbit bomber jacket layered under an old army parka.

Sometimes you need the combination of warmth and waterproof, and fur is not always a great option when you need something waterproof, which is why I’ve taken to layering fur in these situations.

I have an old rabbit fur bomber jacket which looks great but is not in the best of conditions. My German army parka, bought in a market in London, is great for warmth and it keeps out the wet (and has a million pockets and a giant hood.) Sometimes I like to layer the rabbit bomber jacket underneath the army parka, so I get the benefits of both. The giant collar on the bomber jacket also acts as a scarf. I’ve worn this combination in Stockholm in the winter (including the coldest weekend of the year, a while back), and it keeps me very warm. Yay to fur!

Also, I had some very nice comments last week (including a guy stopping me in the street to say “Nice jacket!” about my sapphire mink.) I managed to convince my vegetarian friend, who was visiting from England, that fur wasn’t as bad as he had thought (and I had him try my sheared beaver scarf on a walk, he was impressed.)

But… I also had my first somewhat negative comment about fur, although it was hardly that bad. When I was at the gas station, the cashier commented on the fox tails hanging off my bag. Her exact words were “Cool! Cruel…but cool!” So if that is the worst I am going to get during these 100 days… then I am fine with that. (By the way, we are one third the way through the experiment!)

Have a warm, wonderful, furry holiday season!