Would you wear real fur?
The production of garments using real fur has always been a controversial issue. Recently, real fur has returned to the catwalks and collections of many fashion houses.
Animal fur - also known as a 'pelt' - can be used to create a variety of garments and accessories: hats, stoles, coats and even dresses, to name a few. Common sources of fur include, but are not limited to, foxes, rabbits, chinchillas and raccoons. Some are considered to be more luxurious than others and there are many different colours available.
There are many people, myself included, who believe that killing animals for their fur is unethical. Animals kept in 'fur farms' are killed purely for their fur: the meat goes to waste. To kill an animal for its fur seems unjustifiable: animals have rights, and they should be respected. To produce just one garment, a lot of animals have to die: one full-length fur coat is made from the pelts of sixty rabbits. Many people also have concerns about animal welfare - is it fair to keep animals in small, dirty cages?
For some groups of people wearing real fur is a cultural tradition which represents their heritage and way of life. For others living in very cold climates, such as Siberia, wearing furs is a matter of survival: without them, they simply wouldn't be able to survive in such harsh environments. Traditions aside, there are many people in the Western world who still see fur as a symbol of wealth. It is a luxury - and one that, ultimately, they could live without.
British fashion designer Stella McCartney refuses to use any animal products (e.g. fur or leather) in her collections. Many high-street stores, including Topshop and Zara, have also banned the sale of products featuring real fur. Instead, they use fake fur; this is a synthetic material which is made to look and feel like real fur. It is a lot cheaper, but will still keep the wearer warm.
Hundreds of fashion houses around the world use real fur in their collections, including Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen. Celebrities such as Rihanna and Rita Ora have been seen wearing real fur. With the ever increasing influence of social media and celebrities on our lives, will this mean the fur industry continues to grow?