The use of fur in fashion design has been ethically debated for many years and while it lost its popularity in the 80s and 90s, it has made a strong comeback. Opponents to the use of fur in clothing believe and state that the way in which thousands of fur bearing animals are treated and killed for their pelts is inhuman and unnecessary. They have been highly vocal and, at times, aggressive in expressing their objections to the clothing design industry.
Proponents of making fur clothing or incorporating fur into clothing design maintain that fur has always been coveted for its warmth and that today’s use of fur in making clothing is a natural extension of what man has done for hundreds of years. In their view fur is “the fashionable way to stay warm.”
Environmental fashion consultant Delia Montgomery noted in an article that anti-fur activists promote the use of synthetic materials over real fur even though synthetics are can and have been identified as pollutants. She goes on to say that fur is “earth-friendly” clothing because in most situations the entire animal can be used in some way – nothing is wasted.
Some opponents have taken a less strident approach. Collegiate apparel makes up is a $3 billion market and firms must have a college or university’s permission to use a school’s logo on clothing. Students at several colleges have formed a Workers Rights Consortium to put pressure on clothing firms to stop using fur and can put pressure on college administrations to use college apparel clothiers who do not use fur in other clothing lines.
Another proposed solution to the fur controversy is for clothing designers to use refurbished fur – fur that is essentially recycled. Recently there has also been a trend to use knit or tightly sheared fur in clothing designs. “Poofs” of fur are still used as trim or to accent.