I’m not going to get into the vintage fashion industry and it’s current explosion in popularity here. I know there are people who love it to bits (quite literally with some vintage clothing) and there are others who abhor the very idea of it. I want to focus upon the issue of fur within vintage fashion.
Many have come to see vintage fur as ok (including vegetarians and even vegans), as the animal has not been killed recently and the garment would otherwise go to waste. However, by this token, surely it’s ok to eat a bacon sandwich that no one else wants? I feel any vegetarian/vegan with any integrity would say they wouldn’t eat that sandwich, so why has it become acceptable by many to wear vintage fur (and leather)?
My main difficulty with the stocking of real fur in vintage stores is not so much about seeing the fact that it is vintage as an excuse to wear it, but rather the effect the support of real fur has on the fashion industry. As mentioned previously, vintage seems to be one of the most prevalent forces in the fashion industry at the moment. However, it is worrying how aspects of the fashion industry can perpetuate other trends. Up until recently, fur was a huge no-no. However, there has been a constant battle by the fashion industry (with most major fashion labels in support of this) to reintroduce fur into fashion. Fortunately, their success was limited, until the recent arrival of the vintage trend. “The coming year is an extremely important one for the fur industry, with real fur being pushed back onto the high street using the vintage fashion craze. However, some top furriers have admitted that this is all a part of the plan to revitalise the fur trade and make their image appear acceptable. ” Essentially, vintage fur has set in motion the idea that fur is acceptable once again.
More worrying though is the lack of ‘vintage’ in vintage fur. To illustrate what is meant by this, I’m going to take the example of a vintage company which has stores in Brighton UK, London UK, and Sweden: Beyond Retro. The company has been under attack from its inception for its policy on stocking fur, but more recently has been uncovered to be stocking fur which is barely a few years old and is undoubtedly a product of the cruel Chinese fur industry. Beyond Retro have allegedly been taking in real fur items that are barely a few years old and selling them as vintage items which are a few decades old. By stocking fur that is relatively new, Beyond Retro are potentially selling cat and dog fur labelled as rabbit and mink, conning people who are buying it into believing that the fur is decades older than it actually is, and keeping a horrific industry alive.
Perhaps it’s time the vintage fashion industry washed its hands of such a difficult topic and helped bury fur altogether. And perhaps it’s time that anyone who is against fur (the vast majority thankfully) showed support for faux fur in fashion, highlighting to labels everywhere that designs don’t have to suffer just because animals won’t.