Unfortunately, while the nineties saw real fur creep off the catwalks in shame, thanks to the “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” supermodel campaign, fur has yet again crawled it’s way back into the collections of Italian and French designers who have unapologetically used and worked with every conceivable animal from sable to mink, chinchilla and fox.
Although the lux look sets fashionista’s hearts aflutter, people who wear fur are either ignorant or arrogant about animal suffering. It doesn’t hurt to find a more animal-friendly option which is what I have always promoted.
As we might secretly yearn for the old-fashioned allure and glamour of the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, the rights and wrongs of wearing animal furs and feathers has become a minefield of complicated and moral and ethical dilemmas.
So what about the purchase of feathers you ask? Perhaps the most pragmatic way to approach this is to first find out whether the feathers were sourced in an eco-friendly gathering way (some farms sell feathers that have been molted and naturally shed by birds as part of their growing cycle). If you are unsure, simply ask your supplier directly. If you are going to purchase a product, you are entitled to know exactly where it has been sourced.
Other feather suppliers specialise in collecting vintage feathers and selling them in bulk. Many people see vintage as an ethical choice: a guilt-free, pro-animal rights, pro-environmental way of wearing fur or feathers. It has been emphasised by eco-columnists and fashion environmentalists, the need to recycle everything from fur and feathers to ensure that no further animals have to die today to satisfy our desire for a lux look.
Another option is to research whether the product has the “humane seal of approval” developed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in conjunction with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The seal of approval promotes what it sees as the humane treatment of farm animals. It has begun a labeling program for meat, poultry, dairy and egg producers who meet its criteria for raising farm animals under humane conditions.
However, only your own conscience can dictate your actions. A good motto to live by is “beauty without cruelty”.