One of the most frequently asked questions we hear from customers is: “Can I wear my fur these days?”. Usually they are referring to the fur coats they have in their closet or storage, furs that have kept them warm for decades, or furs they have inherited from a beloved family member.
The short answer is yes. Read on for more.
Every fur coat has a story. It often turns into an interesting discussion on who bought or gave them the coat, and the fond memories they associate with their fur. It inspires a discussion on past eras and fashion trends, which is reflected in the type of fur, the colour, the length, size of the collar, the sleeves, the shoulder pads (read Jackie Collins in the ‘80’s), the label and initials or embroidery on the inside. Furs can “live” for decades and can be turned into something completely new, that can be enjoyed for decades more.
The concept of ‘sustainability’ often follows when we are talking about an item that can be used and repurposed for two or three generations. In this day and age of ‘fast fashion’, it almost seems unbelievable that we can own and utilize an item of clothing for many decades. Natural, durable and transformable.
This can then lead to the discussion of synthetic clothing, which many will say is acceptable — but is it? Well, synthetics are just that — synthetic. Synthetic is the opposite of natural and is largely made of oil. How do we feel about oil these days? Is it an environmentally conscious choice? Most will say no. Personally, I think this is a deep debate. We need to make smart and good choices based on reality, availability and the technology of today. We need oil and gas for energy and the production of some essential things, but this undoubtedly comes at an environmental cost. Do we need to add to that cost with poorly made, oil-based clothing?
How do we create a balance? We could start by using more natural fibres in our clothing… like fur. Personally, I am committed to wearing mostly natural fibres such as wool, cotton, leather, down and of course, fur. I try to only choose synthetics for technical, athletic clothing. The first step is awareness. Stop and think about what your clothes are made from. Where are they made? What is the cost of getting them to you? Read labels. Visit manufacturer’s websites. And above all, buy better quality and buy it less often. I once had an old Eastern European lady tell me: “I’m not rich enough to buy poor quality things.” How profound!
The other part of creating this balance is when we consider wildlife. Wildlife needs a healthy habitat to survive. Without healthy forests, grasslands, waterways, and air, wildlife is finished. This includes us by the way. After 400+ years of us commercially using wildlife (fur and leather) for clothing/warmth and meat for protein, almost every species of fur-bearing animal in Canada and the US is healthy. In many cases, these species are hyper-abundant (over populated in their local ecosystem). Beaver, coyotes, raccoons, foxes, and squirrels, among others, are everywhere, including in major cities across North America. In order to reduce human/wildlife conflict, habitat degradation, and support local and Indigenous communities, their populations need to be ‘managed’. When done so at the right time, by the right people, in the right way, a beautiful and valuable product can be produced. Otherwise, taxpayers pay to cull populations, often at a time when the fur and meat are worthless and therefore the animal is merely discarded. What a waste!
Fur has a 400 year track record of sustainability. Add on significant and constant advances in animal welfare, conservation management, harvest and trade regulations, and traceability, fur really does check the boxes of a socially, environmentally and economically responsible product.
Well, it seems that most Canadians agree.
The results of a recent Canadian Public Opinion survey concluded what I expected and more:
- A majority of Canadians think it is fine to wear fur.
- A majority of Canadians believe that you have the right to choose what you wear.
- A majority of Canadians reject a vegan type lifestyle (not using any animal products).
- A majority of Canadians believe that synthetics are worse than fur and other natural fabrics.
So there you have it! You’re among the majority of Canadians if you enjoy and wear your furs.
Click here to read the full report from my friend and long-term colleague, Alan Herscovici in Montreal and his blog, Truth About Fur.
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