This post was sparked in part by a reader question, and in part by tomorrow’s terminology post (which means, in a way, you are getting a response from the future.). Â It also interlocks with Steph’s post on taste, and judging (or not judging) other people by their clothes.
First, the reader question:
A reader asks “How do you feel about fur? Â Would you use it if doing so was historically accurate? Â Could you consider a reproduction with faux fur historically accurate?”
As a bit of background to this, I have a very specific and defined attitude towards animals and meat. Â I will eat local unfarmed fish as long as it’s not a species that has been identified as being at-risk (bluefin tuna, orange roughies etc.). Â I eat wild game in areas where the wild game is an introduced species (so deer & goat in NZ & Hawaii). Â I don’t eat commercial meat, even the ethically farmed stuff. Â I just don’t like the idea of something existing merely to die. Â I don’t eat pork. Â The thought is just disgusting to me. Â Pigs are too much like humans. Â At the same time, I try not to be a pain about my diet. Â If I go to someones and get served meat I pick around it as discreetly as possible. Â I’ll even cook meat for people.
How do I feel about fur? Â
I’m OK with vintage fur, both wearing and using it, but I think that the fur industry needs to end. Â It’s outmoded and unethical. Â There is no reason to use fur anymore: unlike leather for shoes, we have found fur alternatives that work just as well as ‘real’ fur. Â Wearing new fur is one of the few places in fashion where I will judge you. Â I think it goes beyond tasteless to being cruel and unethical.
Although I am sanguine about wearing vintage fur (vintage meaning 30+ years old), the vintage fur pieces (two stoles, a jacket, a hat and a number of scraps or damaged collars) that I own were all Nana’s (she had almost 2 closets full of fur). Â I don’t think I could buy a vintage fur piece, even at an charity shop.
I do wear leather. Â I don’t think we are killing animals for the leather, and I feel that non-leather options work as well. Â I don’t wear leather clothes other than shoes and belts, and I can’t see myself buying leather furniture.
The one limit to my willingness to wear vintage fur is astrakhan. Â The knowledge of how it is sourced, even if it was before I was born, creeps me out too much. Â I won’t judge you for wearing vintage astrakhan, but I can’t put it on me. Â I gave Nana’s astrakhan hat and collared coat to an op-shop.
And now you are all wondering what ashrakan is. Â You’ll find out tomorrow!
Would I use fur on a historical outfit where doing so was historically accurate/correct?
I’d use the scraps or damaged collars from Nana, but otherwise no. Â My commitment to history doesn’t go as far as to ignore my ethics, or cause harm to my body. Â That’s where I draw the line.
Could you consider a reproduction with faux fur historically accurate/correct?
I could. Â Others may not. Â For me, using faux fur is no different than reproduction (plastic) whalebone, or using the closest modern weave when the historical one isn’t available. Â It’s not the same, but it serves the same purpose, and a seamstress of the time would probably have recognised what it was meant for, which is my rough standard.
These are all just my choices, and my opinions though.