I have inherited a fur cape which I absolutely love, but have never worn. Not because I don’t like it – I love the soft and luxurious feel, the still lingering scent of a granny, and it’s incredible warmth and coziness. I also have a number of ‘little black dresses’ that I could wear it with and I am sure it will look fantastic.
I guess the reasons why I haven’t yet worn it is partly a feeling of ‘guilt’, but mostly because I think other people won’t approve. And that bothers me as I, as a rule, don’t like complying to peer pressure.
I love animals and would never buy a new fur. I fully endorse Burberry’s recent decision to stop using real fur in its collections; and the world-wide outrage at animal cruelty practised in the sourcing of fur.
At the same time I feel there is a lot of hypocrisy involved in the whole be-kind-to-animals discussion. ‘ The capacity that we have to trick ourselves into thinking that we’re sticking to our moral code—even as we deviate from it—is astounding. As usual.’ says Rachel Poliquin, the author of The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing. “As soon as you get into talking about animals, and the appropriate ways we use animals, it’s just such a never-ending pit of questions… Unless you live your life without using any animal products, and you don’t wear leather shoes or a leather belt, and you don’t eat meat, you’re always a hypocrite, and there is no gray. I think a lot of people like to live in the gray zone.”
That is exactly how I feel about my vintage fur stole.
There are a large number of vintage furs out there that are over 50 to 80 years old, especially in countries where it is extremely cold in winter, which shows just how durable and fully insulated against the cold fur is. Should these just be discarded? My other bugbear is faux fur, which is mass produced, yet hailed as the ‘responsible’ option. Is it really more responsible and environmentally friendly if it gets discarded every third or fourth season?
By substituting a natural product with a manmade one, you create a whole set of new issues to consider. Faux fur is petroleum based, non-renewable, and is often made in such a way that it releases toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. In contrast, vintage fur can last decades and go for a fraction of the price compared to a new wool coat and is less detrimental to the environment.
So, I have decided that it is time for my fur cape to come out the closet. If you happen to see me wearing it at some special event, please don’t hate on me. Rather see it as my of reducing and reusing something that I love.