Night Gown: Christian Dior, Fur Coat: Grandma’s, Jewellery: From My Own Bedouin Jewellery Collection
Images: Agata Bosak
Isn’t the embroidery on this Dior silk slip just amazing? Evening wear these days often adheres to a certain trend – boudoir chic, aka looks kind of like lingerie or sleepwear but it’s not really. I mean it can be, if you choose to wear a £2k gown only to sleep in, and if you do, I salute you. The rebel side of this trend also exists, remember all of the fashionistas rolling up in their PJs and going all I am so Vogue right now? That.
But now let’s talk about some mother loving fashion issues. Let’s talk about fur in all of its glory: the fake variety (or the sexified version faux – ‘cuz everything sounds better in French), the real deal and the semi real deal. Didn’t know there was middle ground? Now you do.
So, animal lovers, get you red paint ready. Fur lovers, get your paint removers ready; for this is not a conversation for the faint-hearted and there will be controversy.
What I find interesting about this topic is there are only polar opposites in terms of opinion on fur. It’s either you-barbaric-shit or animals-were-made-for-human-consumption. And then there is me, who didn’t even know this was such a hot debate until I moved from Eastern Europe to London.
Let me elaborate, child. Back home there is no debate. It gets so cold that there is only one thing a lot of Eastern Europeans will tell you to do with faux fur in winter months. And that thing is wipe-yo-backside. This means that wearing heavy furs is non-negotiable in January’s freezathon and this is considered the norm. I even remember that back in school we used to wear fur as kids. The question always had been what fur is it, not is it real.
This is fundamentally different here in London, where you will find vintage-fur-loving hipsters in coats claiming that oh, I don’t know what is this but I have been told it’s a monkey (There obviously is a monkey in this look and it is the person wearing it) or I would never ever in my life even consider wearing fur, it’s so cruel and God will punish you and your family, you all will rot in hell, and by the way I am wearing faux fur, FAUX.
Those who claim to have this Ghandi-like approach towards the issue are often missing the point. Wearing faux fur is still buying into that stylistic vision of wearing animals on you, simulated animals but still animals. And here’s another reason you can paint yourself red right now if you are pro-PETA and prefer wearing faux fur. Producing your “animal-friendly” coat is also killing those same animals and many others around them because:
- Putting together a faux fur coat is often an extremely environmentally-unfriendly process which means the environment suffers; this includes plants, animals as well as the air you breathe.
- Remember I mentioned semi real deal fur? That’s because, according to a number of environmentalist sources (which you can find in Lucy Siegle’s book, don’t be lazy, read it) real fur is at times mixed into faux fur to prevent left-overs among other reasons which are equally disturbing.
- Look at your pet kitten. Or that puppy. LOOK AT IT. Awww, ain’t it cute? That’s exactly what a Chinese factory worker or a hundred of them thought. But then deadlines were looming and there was not enough faux material for an order. Go figure what happened next.
- If you feel particularly philosophical, spare a thought about the factory workers who probably have not seen the sunlight this month despite living in a hot country because they were too busy trying to put together an order of 200 fauxies in 48 hours time or less. Clock’s’a’ticking.
Now that we’ve established that faux fur is not the lesser evil, does this mean that real fur is the bollocks? Of course not. People abuse animals every day. Be it sheep, pigs, cows and chickens that you’ll have for dinner tonight or foxes and minks that your cruel and heartless distant aunty wears. Animals die because of us.
What’s the solution? Cruella de Vil turning vegan? Not exactly. There is a slightly inconvenient truth (to some) about a certain make of real furs – these can be much more environmentally-friendly than the fauxies. A lot of independent furriers pride themselves in sourcing fur the ethical way and producing one-off pieces. The key is for the consumer to be educated and know what he or she is buying as pieces like that can be passed down from generation to generation. This is exactly why you may see me wearing mink or fox from my parents or grandparents – they knew what they were getting and they knew it was an investment piece not for five seasons but potentially for five generations if taken care of the right way.
I love animals myself (I’ve googled cute kittens five times to motivate myself to finish this bigass article!) and I can’t take away the fact that wearing fur had been a part of my up-bringing. It’s just how it is.
Between the two extremes (real and faux fur), I am on neither’s side as both are flawed. I can see where both sides are coming from but I choose to KNOW what I am wearing. This is partly why it takes me a millennium to make a purchase but when I do, it’s an educated one. I am lucky that my parents have done the same and have passed down the knowledge to me… and judged me like crazy when I bought that immoral faux fur gillet. Yes, I was an idiot and I apologised a gazillion times now, stop already.