The debate between fake or fur is long running and emotive.
I had the perception that faux fur had won the battle over hearts and minds some time ago. So as a buyer I was surprised when visiting Autumn Fair this year to find real fur is not only back in vogue, it’s everywhere.
Many of the wholesaler’s I met were carrying genuine Raccoon and Rabbit fur lines. In fact I was told that a Raccoon Tail Pom Pom is the must have handbag accessory for this winter.
I have to admit they looked (and felt) very nice and in the rainbow of colours available it wouldn’t be hard to easily dress an outfit with a clip on pom pom. I wandered around the event pondering the frequency at which the Pom Poms were appearing on stands and asking myself if consumer attitudes have now changed, is real fur acceptable again and no longer the luxury of the rich and famous?
One earnest seller was ready to convince me that it has. “We have certificates from our factory that all the fur used is a natural by-product of the food industry” she said.
"A by-product" I thought, really?
In that split second my mind raced back to a childhood memory of watching the "Wilderness Family".
Skip; the father that had moved his family out of the smoggy Los Angeles air to go and live in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains. On their arrival they are greeted by 2 beautiful cheeky Raccoon's that pop up out of the chimney stove.
I remember the image clearly, their cute little faces and stripy tails. I couldn’t quite get my head round what the lady was telling me and neither did I want to believe that these beautiful creatures are now being consumed in such great quantities that their “by-product” is producing enough fur to support the latest fashion craze.
I always thought that the UK was a nation of animal lovers. Granted the Raccoon is not a native of our shores and I read online that they can be seen as pests in more urban communities across the US. Perhaps they are to many US homeowners the equivalent of our Fox? Even so, I can't forsee a huge take up in the demand for Fox, either as a staple meat offering or a handbag accessory but perhaps I am wrong?
I came away from Autumn Fair without purchasing any Raccoon or Rabbit fur products but I was still thinking about the “by-product” comment a couple of days later when I read that Walter Palmer, the US Dentist that had been widely criticised for his part in the hunting and killing of Cecil the Lion, had returned to work. I couldn’t help thinking that the wearing of a Raccoon Pom Pom is perhaps the thin end of the wedge?
If we are so ready to accept the re-emergence of fur as a fashion product how long will it be before the taste for Raccoon and Rabbit fur grows into something more exotic? Will we still be outraged by stories like the killing of Cecil or will the by-products of a hunt find their way into mainstream fashion also? The more and more I thought about it the more if felt just wrong.
In the end I have had to take a decision on if I will stock real fur products or not? My decision is that Sassy Spirit will not be stocking real fur products. I don’t believe that this single decision will make any difference to the wider world but I am a woman of principle and this decision is the right one for me. I have spent some time looking at the wide and beautiful range of faux fur options available and simply can not see a need to buy real fur. I can only hope my customers will join me in wearing faux fur this winter and leave the beautiful Raccoon's alone.
If you think I am wrong or have any opinion on fake over real fur, please do leave your comments below.
Thanks for reading.