While reading the December issue of Elle magazine, I came across an article written by Pamela Erens (you can read it here). She writes,
"[T]he public obsession with fur as uniquely immoral puzzles me. The realities associated with the raising, penning, and slaughtering of beef cattle are equally appalling, and the number of animals killed for meat dwarfs that of those killed for fur. In 2012 about 9 billion farm animals were slaughtered by the meat industry in the U.S. alone; the number for fur animals is 50 million worldwide…I know these facts don’t make fur morally stainless, but I have to wonder why the revulsion is so much more instantaneous when it comes to fur. Needless to say, almost none of the people who comment on my fur wearing eschew meat or leather."
Personally, I do not wear fur. I have been a vegetarian since I was 10, and vegan since I was about 15. I do not use products tested on animals either. My family does wear fur. My grandmother has passed down most of her fur coats down to my mother, who wears them more out of obligation, than an actual fashion statement. I am not entirely sure what will happen when these furs are passed down to me.
Erens brings up the question why fur is more readily perceived as morally wrong, while leather is not. I have the answer. There are great alternatives to fur. Tim Gunn in his book The Fashion Bible even states so. They are not more expensive than the real thing, as Erens seems to think. On the other hand, there are no great substitutes for leather. Pleather does not hold up as well as the real thing. It is usually coated in polyurethane, which actually gives off gases as it breaks down. These gases will even cause the other clothes in your closet to break down. A pleather piece will never be an investment piece.
This piece was most likely written before PETA exposed the awful angora fur factories in China, leading Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 to stop production and question their fur usage. This will always be an important topic in fashion and it needs to continuously be discussed. I know what side I'm on but what are your thoughts?