London is one of the four major fashion capitals of the world. While Paris represents refined craftsmanship and Milan wows everyone with extravagance, London fashion is all about fearless imagination. Designers joining the London Fashion Week are those who specialize in outrageous displays, tongue-in-cheek rebellion, and in blurring the lines between commerce and art. In 2018, they defied the standards as they decided to go fur-free for the first time since 1984.
The British Fashion Council (BFC) announced through the London Fashion Week website that the September 2018 fashion would be free from the flagrant display and use of animal fur. The council initiated this plan to advocate for ethical choices in selecting raw materials within the supply chain. Aside from this, the council also wants to celebrate the best practices in the industry, while encouraging present and future fashion companies to spur positive changes.
Among the fur-free designers and brands that signified their support for a zero fur fashion week are Christopher Kane, Erdem, Burberry, and Victoria Beckham. It was also in the same year that famous brand Gucci announced their departure from the use of animal fur in all their products.
Will Britain completely ban fur imports?
The campaign against fur farming has been strongly supported all over Britain. Even the Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth herself would no longer be using real fur in all her outfits. The animal rights activists very much welcomed this decision. In an interview, the Humane Society International UK director Claire Bass said that they are thrilled that the Queen strongly supports their advocacy of having a fur-free society.
In the UK, the one spearheading the advocacy against fur farming is none other than the Human Society International UK. Their website shows that as of today, they already have gathered 754, 898 signatures as pledges of support to their cause. Aside from these over 700,000 signatures, organizations like Viva!, Open Cages, Four Paws, Care2, PETA, Save Me Trust, Animal Aid, and The Jane Goodall Institute are backing the group. Celebrities like Evanna Lynch, Ricky Gervais, and Kirsty Gallacher are also rallying behind them.
Though fur farming has been banned in the UK since 2000, there are still companies that import fur from overseas. In the fashion industry, for example, animals are made to suffer unnecessarily for fur. Unfortunately, even if seal, dog, or cat fur is banned, the import of fur from raccoon dogs, foxes, and coyotes are still allowed. But since 80% of the public is firmly against these practices, it’s possible to ban it altogether. With the public clamouring for a ban on fur and animal cruelty, there is a very high chance that Britain can totally stop the practice.
Why is fur farming unethical and damaging?
Fur production can impose a significant adverse risk on human health and to the environment. For one, it’s not a natural resource. This only means that the process of producing it can be energy-consuming and intensely toxic. The production process involves dipping of pelts in animal waste runoff and toxic chemical soups from fur farms. These farms, in turn, are polluting the waterways and soil.
And like animal agriculture, keeping and storing of animals in different fur farms can release a massive ecological footprint since it requires energy, feed, water, land, and some other kinds of resources. As a matter of fact, according to the Fur Free Alliance, various European advertising regulatory committees ruled that the advertisements portraying fur as green or environmentally friendly are misleading and blatantly false.
One of the local impacts of fur farming is local pollution. It can lead to the diminution of land, property values, economic activities, and rural life. On top of that, it can also make waste runoffs seep into the waterways and soil, allowing more severe damage to the ecosystem.
Aside from local pollution, loss of biodiversity is another adverse environmental impact of fur farming. The said practice kills and injures non-target animals. Hunters set up body-gripping traps that will not only harm these animals but will also threaten the endangered species. On top of this adverse effect is another hazard in the form of fur toxins. You see, the dying, bleaching, and conservation of pelts all involve the use of hazardous vapours. These harmful substances can pose a significant threat to the workers in the processing plants and the wearers and consumers of the product.
Lastly, it’s important to note that fur farming also imposes a considerable climate impact. Since energy is used and consumed at every fur production stage, these fur farms emit massive volumes of greenhouse gasses as they continue to burn fossil fuels.
A fur-free society can be achieved if all the stakeholders, from the manufacturers, government, consumers, and private sectors, will join hands in putting a stop to this age-old practice.
For now, vigilance is highly essential to avoid buying products that use fur. The consumer should be proactive in finding out whether or not the product he’s buying is indeed 100% free from fur. Through this, little by little, we can build a society that’s not dependent on animal cruelty for its needs and wants. If these positive practices persist, in the future, ‘London fashion week fur-free’ won’t be just another one-day newspaper headline but a highly accepted norm.