73% of this year’s 436 shows in New York, Paris, Milan and London featured fur or hides, according to Saga Furs, the Finnish auction house.
Fur has always been a hot-button issue in fashion, and now more than ever because the consumer has the ability to research and decide for themselves where they want to stand. It is really the one area where money and ethics converge in fashion.
Despite the many voices advocating against the skin trade for fur and hides, there’re arguments that support the use of animal skin in clothes manufacturing.
First of, animal skin is a natural, renewable and sustainable resource. That means only part of what nature produces each year is used, without depleting wildlife populations or damage the natural habitat s that sustain them. Synthetics, by contrast, are generally made from petroleum (a non-renewable resource), which is NOT consistent with the sustainable use of our environment. The production, transportation and disposal of petrochemicals can cause environmental problems.
Second, animal skin is naturally resilient and long-lasting. Well cared-for, a fur garment will remain functional and beautiful for many, many years – far longer that any other clothing material. In fact, coats made of animal skin are one of the few clothing items that are often passed down and used by two or even three generations.
Last but not least, animal skin is biodegradable. Most synthetics, on the other hand, do not break down easily and will remain in landfills for centuries. This further exacerbates the already existing ecological and environmental problems of waste building.
Skin trade doesn’t seem so evil as many people claimed it to be.
Yujie Benji Lei