My grandmother's mink stole... it sat unused in one of our random closets, and was long out of fashion by the time I was a kid. It was a relic from the 1960s, reminiscent of high hair, dirty martinis, and neighborhood gin rummy games at basement card tables. Fast forward to recent times and fur has taken on a different meaning. Animal rights awareness of the 1990s resulted in a sharp downturn in the trade, but according to National Geographic, fur production has more than doubled in recent decades. Today's furs however, aren't the brown mink coats of yesteryear. Now they have near-neon hues and are swathed in psychedelic patterns. Fur is on playful pouf bag charms and raver-inspired fuzzy backpacks. It is undoubtedly trendier, but a recent Louis Vuitton fur protest has us wondering: is it any less controversial?
Louis Vuitton is the latest recipient of the fur backlash. According to the Daily Mail UK, anti-fur protesters posed as shoppers over the weekend and entered the Bond Street store in London. Once inside the protesters became vocal and were escorted out. They remained outside and tensions were so high that the store closed its security shutters and police escorts arrived to help customers exit. An hour later the incident was over and the store re-opened. LV uses less fur than many other designers but it's most definitely seen on the newest bag charms, scarves, and gloves. Vuitton also recently debuted a sheepskin-covered cocoon chair at Miami Art Basel. Perhaps this was the reason for the protest that made me question: how bad is fur?
A little digging reveals that fur farming practices have come a long way. Campaigns by animal rights advocacy groups like PETA have resulted in a sharp downturn in fur use. In the past, activists have spoken out about animals' living conditions on farms, and the raised awareness has helped improve the issue. In an effort to combat the success of the animal rights movement, the fur industry has undergone quite a few changes in an attempt to improve upon its high-criticized barbaric practices. Some fur farms, such as those in China, still operate under questionable conditions. However the luxury sector tends to source animal hides from Europe and North America, where humane farming practices are becoming more strictly enforced. Those against the fur trade would argue that the fur industry should simply cease to exist, but for now at least, it’s clearly here to stay. All of this begs the question…with the negativity surrounding the use of fur, what would cause luxury labels to continue using it? Clearly, there is a public perception that fur is bad, which leads to backlash and negative publicity. Is it really worth it?
What do you think about London's recent Louis Vuitton fur protests? Were they out of line or deserved?