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Caitlyn De Wit, Section 2 SP 15, Spring 2015

The future of fur in fashion: Millennials steer towards faux fur

Fur as a fashion statement has come and gone within the fashion industry. Recently, seen in high-end fashion magazines, fur has been making a notable appearance, but with a more modern twist. Because of increased regulations, protests and education on animal cruelty, the demand for real fur within the fashion industry is declining, especially among younger generations.

Popularity of fur vests and other accent fur pieces have been increasing over the past few years.

Popularity of fur vests and other accent fur pieces have been increasing over the past few years.

The influencers

There are many influential people in the fashion world who continue to play an important role in the survival of fur in fashion. Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, is among these people. She is known to feature fur on many covers and editorial pictures in her hugely successful fashion magazine.

As technology and reliance on social media have increased, the emergence of another important fashion influencer for younger generations has risen: the video bloggers (vlogger).

Remi Cruz, a popular YouTube vlogger, has become an influential role model for her viewers. She is a fashion and make-up video blogger; whose main viewer demographic are girls ages 12 to 16 years old.

YouTube vlogger, Remi Cruz, has become an expert within the fashion industry by making fashion videos and make-up tutorials.

YouTube vlogger, Remi Cruz, has become an expert within the fashion industry by making fashion videos and make-up tutorials.

When it comes to fur in fashion, Cruz says that faux fur is the way of the future. Younger generations, like Cruz’s fans, are starting to see the harm that occurs at the sake of wearing fur, but many still like the look of fur as accent pieces.

“For me and my viewers, real fur is not really an option,” Cruz said. “Not only does it condone animal cruelty but it’s also extremely expensive.”

Cruz says that she still likes the idea of fur as a fashion trend, that is faux fur, it gives an image of luxury and class to any outfit.

Celebrities, models and designers are important influencers in the fashion industry as well, whether they are against the use of fur or for it, they can have a huge impact on society, especially the millennials.

Designers, such as Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Alberta Ferretti, showcased fur in their collection this year. Some of the biggest influencers, celebrities such as Karlie Kloss, have even been seen sporting fur.

In contrast, many designers have taken a fur free pledge when it comes to their designs and collections. Ralph Lauren is among the many designers who have chosen to go fur-free. Penelope Cruz and other celebrities have also taken a stand to try and eliminate fur as a fashion statement

Protests on fur in fashion

In today’s fashion industry, some still see fur as luxurious and fashion forward, however, others see the act of using skin from an animal to design clothing as barbaric and cruel.

According to The Humane Society of The United States, more than 50 million animals a year are harmed and killed because of the fur industry.

It is a common misconception that fur is actually a byproduct of the meat industry, according to Born Free USA, a national animal advocacy nonprofit organization. Instead fur farms are created specifically for taking the fur from animals and are usually done differently than in the meat industry, as to not damage the fur.

Ellen Ericksen, an independent activist who volunteers with PETA, has help organize and run numerous fur protests throughout San Diego, demanding regulations on the fur industry.

Ellen Ericksen is an independent activist who spends her time organizing protests and a vegan lifestyle.

Ellen Ericksen is an independent activist who spends her time organizing protests and a vegan lifestyle.

Although restrictions within the United States have helped in the fight against fur-farming, the majority of furs used in America have been internationally imported from places with little restrictions on how the fur is cultivated, according to Ericksen.

Fashion Valley Mall has been the target of several fur protest over the years. Many of the stores within the mall, such as Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, are large sellers of fur in San Diego.

“We have had people and kids of all ages come and help protest with us,” Ericksen said.

Social media has helped millennials have a voice against animal cruelty and spread awareness to society, Ericksen said.

“Kids are our future,” she said. “It’s important that they are being exposed to the realities of the fur industry so that we can make change.”

Multimedia: Animal rights activists protest in San Diego County against the use of fur in fashion.

Fur for the economy

Many countries and their citizens around the world rely on the continuation of the fur industry for their economy, for example 80 percent of the population in Kastoria, Greece are employed by the fur industry, according to the International Fur Federation.

For Dee Dee Kiser, owner of Millard’s Fur Service, fur has been a way of life for the past 42 years. She spends her days repairing, sewing and storing numerous fur garments, from purses to coats. As San Diego’s last furrier, Kiser has a vast knowledge on types of fur, how to properly care for them, and their costs.

A graph showing how the number of animals farmed for fur over the years has declined. Graph created by Environment Statistics Yearbook 2013 Statistics Finland.

A graph showing how the number of animals farmed for fur over the years has declined. Graph created by Environment Statistics Yearbook 2013 Statistics Finland.

Owner of Millard’s Fur Service, Dee Dee Kiser, is one San Diego’s leading experts on fur repair and maintenance.

Owner of Millard’s Fur Service, Dee Dee Kiser, is one San Diego’s leading experts on fur repair and maintenance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“In the 80’s a lot of fur protests were going on, [fur] fell out of favor all over,” she said. “Then restrictions in the U.S. were implemented on all farms that were not humane, which brought sales up again.”

Multimedia: Dee Dee Kiser describes the work she does in the fur industry and the ways she has had to adjust her company to the changing trends.

The future of fur

Despite protests, fur made a comeback this season in the world of fashion. Traditional styles have been on the decline as new styles made from different types of fur are becoming more popular.

For designers and furriers like Kiser it’s important to stay fresh, youthful and on top of the trends in order to market to younger generations.

A sample of Kiser's work with fur, using beads as a way to appeal to a younger market.

A sample of Kiser’s work with fur, using beads as a way to appeal to a younger market.

“We’re starting to take furs and condense them down so they become vests, they become maybe hoodies something that matches the style of what the youth are wearing,” Kiser said.” Not so much the traditional look with the big heavy collars and big heavy cuffs.”

Fur trim has also become a huge trend, with just a little bit of fur on the collars or as an accent on accessories. Kiser said the use of color on fur has been the biggest difference. Furs now come in blue, red, purple or any other color desired by millennials, Kiser also uses beads to try and make fur more youthful.

“It’s all about making it fun and exciting,” she said.

Fur is notorious as being an expensive and luxurious item that in the past was unaccessible to younger women and men. However, consignment stores and hand-me-downs are making it easier and more affordable for millennials to partake in the fur trend, says Kiser.

Fur coats brought into Kiser's store by customers for her to tailor them.

Fur coats brought into Kiser’s store by customers for her to tailor them.

“I have a lot of people who will bring in fur from the second market or fur that was their aunts or grandmothers,” Kiser said. “They will ask me to take off the sleeves or shorten the length to make it look more like the style.”

Frock You, a consignment store in San Diego, is among the few stores that sell fur at reduced costs. Aubrey Juarez, a sales associate at Frock You, says that fur sells in San Diego have actually been declining.

“It’s so warm in San Diego,” Juarez said. “So we can’t get as much for them compared to what they’re normally sold for.”

A large portion of customers that buy real fur and faux fur at Frock You are actually younger adults, however according to Juarez, a lot of millennials come into the store and buy vintage clothing and furs to wear to festivals like Burning Man and Coachella, she said.

Fur has become more of a dress up and fun statement piece worn occasionally, which is why faux fur has been more popular for the fur trend.

“Faux fur sells a lot better at our store,” Juarez said. “It’s cheaper and of course then it doesn’t involve any ethical issues.”

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