5 Reasons Why the British are Hypocrites About Fur

fur, fashion, editorial, vogue paris, fur is in fashion, i love fur

An editorial in Vogue Paris featuring fur. Karlie Kloss by Gilles Bensimon.

I recently came back from a week in London and was reminded about how much I love the culture, city, and the Brits. But I was also reminded about a few things that annoy me. London is a very trend-conscious city. It only takes a few days on the street, public transport, and walking by a few shop windows to know what is in fashion, because almost everyone follows trends. One trend I noticed all over London was fur – mostly cheap, ugly, tacky, fake fur. The British are total hypocrites when it comes to fur, here’s why.

topshop, fake fur, real fur, i love fur

Fake fur from Topshop.

1. They wear tons of fake fur. There are very, very little topics that PETA and I will agree on, however one thing they do say is that the wearing of fake fur promotes both fake and real fur fashion trends, and therefore should not be done. I will agree with this, because most people do not have the eye to spot a real from a fake, and if they see fur (real or fake) all over the shops and streets, they will probably buy it. Britain – if you don’t like fur, then don’t wear it and for god’s sake stop wearing that cheap, tacky ugly fake fur made from petroleum products that are infinitely worse for the environment than a mink coat.

2. They buy tons of cheap fashion. I mentioned above that London is a very trendy city, and the reason why it can be so is that fast fashion is everywhere and is very, very cheap. The hypocrisy is staggering. Here’s a nation of so-called animal lovers who get in a tizzy the moment they hear the word “fur”, but will buy bags of cheap clothing made in countries with little or no workers’ rights, and will wear said clothing twice and then dump it into a landfill. In the long run, this is doing far more damage to the environment and its inhabitants than the fur industry. Get your priorities straight.

primark, fake fur, cheap fashion

Three items from Primark which are selling for £8 each. Prices like this raise some serious questions about how these goods were made.

3. They claim to love animals but don’t take care of the people. While we are on the subject, why is it that the British seem to be the first on the “animal rights” bandwagon, yet each local high street is lined with charity shops to raise money for the old? What does it say about a country that cares more about dogs than they do pensioners? In my ten years in England, I was constantly shocked about the number of charities that support old people – which implied that their families were not taking care of them. It is really sad. And today I read this in The Guardian: “Nearly half-a-million Britons are reported to have been driven to food banks in the first half of this year, and yet this is one of the most prosperous nations that has ever existed.” A nation of animal-lovers, indeed, who don’t really seem to put much effort into caring for the needy humans that populate it.

4. The media lies about fur. I hate to cite the Daily Mail as an example of media because it should more likely be referred to as paper one can use to start a fire or to let a puppy pee on, but they are also a prime example of a newspaper whose stance against fur is full of hypocrisy. They frequently post sensationalist anti-fur articles, but in their tacky celebrity coverage, they refer to fur as fake fur. These photos of Jerry Hall in a “faux-fur trimmed coat” are a joke. That is not faux fur – Jerry Hall has a bit more class (and money) than that. Her coat is lined in real fur.

jerry hall, real fur, fake fur

Jerry Hall in her “fake” fur.

5. The retailers lie about fur. Harrods is the only one of the British department stores whose has a pro-fur policy – the rest state they do not sell fur. But guess what? The people who are actually spending tons of money in those stores actually want to buy fur. And guess what? Most of the high end designer brands sold in the department stores also feature fur in their collections. While none of the “anti-fur” department stores have fur departments, they’ve been known to sell a handbag here, an accessory there – that contains a real fur trim. And what happens if you ask them what it is made of? The sales people will lie and say it is fake.

I’m all for being a nation of animal-lovers, but quit the hypocrisy and consider the big picture. We all need to wear clothes, and by choosing fake fur or cheap fast fashion you aren’t necessarily buying smarter or more ethical than buying fur. And if the Brits spent one tenth of the resources spend on “protecting” animals on protecting the old and the poor, I’m sure it would be a much better place to live.

  • You R. Delusional

    I’m genuinely curious how much you are paid by the fur industry in Canada to write blog posts promoting them. Spanning back to 2010 and now, your big focus seems to be on arguing in favour of fur. You make ridiculous statements like, “Why don’t people make the same arguments for leather?” Unlike fur, leather comes from an animal whose parts are completely used (for meat, for gelatin, dog food, etc.). The fur industry is not quite so… Useful.

    Did you ever further investigate the fur industry like you said you would in 2010? How about investigating the fur industry that is overseas? Or do you not want to talk about that? How do you know that your fur is “good fur” as you like to call it?

    Your bullshit diversions are laughable. Just because people are suffering, we shouldn’t also strive to end animal cruelty? Also let’s follow your exact point. You suggest that retailers shouldn’t ignore people who want to buy fur because they have so much money to spend. Put your money where your mouth is and put it towards the homeless and poor instead of a fur coat. Jesus Christ, you question other people’s priorities and you’re writing blog posts in favour of a disgusting industry. You’re not a trapper and synthetic will keep you warm just fine, dear.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    At the time of writing, I was not an employee of the fur industry in Canada. I have, however, done projects for them because it is a cause that I am genuinely passionate about (it’s not for the money, that’s for sure. Non profits don’t pay well.) I really don’t want to start a long winded argument with you here, because I am too lazy to do it, but I will answer some of your questions.

    1- All of the parts of the fur bearing animals are used. Minks are made into oil used for waterproofing and in cosmetics, and the carcasses are turned into bio fuels or organic fertilizers. There is a town in Denmark whose buses run on mink carcasses. I would hardly call that “unuseful.” And if you knew farmers at all, you would probably know that they are not in the habit of wasting things.

    2- Yes, I did investigate the fur industry. I went to farms in Denmark, Sweden, and Canada. I went to auction houses, tradeshows, and met all sorts of people involved in the trade. I would consider Denmark and Sweden to be “overseas”, no?

    3- I sadly am not the person who can afford the expensive fur coat, so I’m not the one the department stores are ignoring. I appreciate your suggestion about helping the homeless but a few years ago I decided I would give all of my cash charitable donations to Medecins Sans Frontieres as it is a cause close to my heart, and that is where I will continue to donate.

    Perhaps if you think my blog is full of bullshit diversions, you shouldn’t be reading it?

  • Mark Miller

    Delusional…perfect description.
    if you knew anything about the Fur Industry other than what you saw in a peta pamphlet….you would know that there is little-no waist in all aspects of the Fur Industry. Bi- products from other industries are used as animal feed (in particular fish and poultry) like wise bi-products from Fur Farms are used to produce feed and fertilizer. When garments and trims are fashioned nearly every piece of the pelt is used and re-used with almost nothing thrown away…a big difference from textile production.

    As for warmth…fake fur is not warm, it does not last (when was the last time you saw a fake that was still being worn or remodeled after 20 years….Never), Fake Fur is a petro chemical derivative…in short it is made from OIL a non replenishable natural resource that pollutes, kills animals and has a devastating impact on the enviroment for decades +++.

  • Bernadette Vong

    As a UK citizen I’d like to point out a few of the pointers the author mentioned is very true, such as if you love animals, don’t wear any fur, even fake fur. And as the matter of fact, many animals lover don’t. But these days, it’s getting more and more difficult to shop for 100% cruelty free products.

    It’s not hard to realise that fashion these days is so much more style conscious, then moral conscious. So Stella McCartney is one in a million! UK at the moment is going through some real tough time, due to taxes and laws, rich are getting richer, poor are getting poorer! So many people in London for example, are forced to leave their homes and move outside London because they cannot keep up the living costs. Those people who shop at Primark, are the people who is not making a lot of money! For people who are fashion conscious, but don’t have the money, Primark seems like the only choice.

    It’s true if you have questions over where these products are made from, e.g. overseas sweatshops, one shouldn’t support and buy such products. However, the truth is the questions if the people are commonly well educated on that side of things. If you have actually been in Primark, you’ll see they are mostly teenagers, University students, tourists, and older women (usually over 50s). This says, that these are the people who are less likely to able to afford a lot on fashion. And you would rarely see a young professional woman or man shops at Primark. So although it is fast fashion as you say, Primark’s clothes are also less likely as you say got dumped in the landfill. You probably won’t believe it, but if you go to ebay.co.uk and search for Primark, those clothing are actually being recycled, instead of landfill as you have imagined. This also shows you that these are the people who can’t afford a lot on lifestyles. And you really can’t point your fingers to poor people.

    BRITONS WEAR TONS OF FAKE FUR! In the last few years I do see a lot more people wearing faux fur trimmed items, mostly on a khaki trench coat. But as we Brits (most of us) aware that we are not all Kate Moss, not many of us actually dare to wear a full faux or real fur coat out, as this is actually what we always consider a hooker would wear. Yes, those ugly, yucky faux fur coat you were talking about. So any self-respectful young ladies don’t wear faux fur coat, and because most of us love our cats and dogs, we don’t wear a real one either, even if one can afford it!

    FUR or NO FUR, it comes down a lot to what the top designers do, to set the trend. For years, since I’ve learned about the cruelty of leather and fur making, it’s a constant struggle to make sure I only buy cruelty free products. Sometimes the sale person doesn’t even know!!!

    Oh! and the beloved Daily Mail you mentioned in your article. Why wouldn’t you pick a more credential media such as The Guardian, or The Evening Standard to make a case? Daily Mail is commonly known as a tabloids and bonker media, who always make false reports in order to sell papers. So I’m pretty upset you chose such media to represent us Brits as a whole.

    Last but not least, “They claim to love animals but don’t take care of the people.” It is ultimately sad that we have so many people in this country have to resolve to a food bank, considered ourselves one of the leading country in the west. But i think those people who loves animals are not the ones who pushes this country into such state. People who are poor or rich, can love animals disregards their wealth.

    Those people who cannot feed their families, is because of the estate industry pushing those people who isn’t earning a lot, cannot afford to buy a house and can only rent. And because of the house pricing has sky rocketed again and again each year (just last year alone, the house pricing has gone up more than 15%), so the rent is getting higher and higher, so is the energy and food bills! But our wages is not bound to raise, giving the economical circumstances, a lot of people considered themselves lucky of having a job! So with all the money went into rent, to have a roof over your family, people can only resort to the food bank! It is extremely ridiculous, but it is the government’s job to control house pricing, it’s not about the people who loves animals, or not, in this case.

    Protecting the old and poor is also the government’s job, the shame is that many of these old people are childless. So they have no family to take care of them. This is also why you see so many charities of this kind because they are people who do volunteer to look after these people.

    You have no idea how much we are struggling in the UK! A problem is not always just a problem, it links to so many things, mainly causes by multi-billion dollars empires. Have you seen how much it costs for a litre of petrol? I feel sorry that you have not spent enough time in the UK to learn enough, and then to decide calling us all Brits hypocrites.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I spent ten years in the UK and I read the Guardian and the BBC and am very aware of what goes on there. Normally I don’t address every single issue in a comment this long because I don’t have the time, but since you got your knickers all in a twist because I didn’t approve it right away (I was sleeping….) here we go.

    1. The words “100% cruelty free” are an oxymoron, as all new fashion makes some kind of negative impact in some way.

    2.. Stella McCarney is not one in a million. She makes plastic shoes and bags made from petro chemicals. She has four children and keeps homes all around the world. Concerned about London property prices? People like her, who have a massive flat they only spend a few days a month in are part of the problem.

    3. I have been in Primark, many times. And my peers have bought things in there, so have I, and we regret it. You don’t need to buy a new outfit every week if you are fashion conscious. The problem in the UK, and this does not exist in many other European countries, is that people think they are entitled to be wearing the latest fashion all the time, and that that should buy tons of cheap clothes in order to be on trend. Most of the people shipping at Primark could buy a little bit less, and then go somewhere like M&S who have an extremely high level of ethics.

    4. The Daily Mail. SIGH. I am FULLY aware that the Guardian is a much more respected publication but it seems like you might be a bit delusional about what media represents Britain. Here are some numbers for you (average monthly circulation): The Sun – 2.2 million, The Daily Mail – 1.8 million and The Guardian – 200K. So the reason why I used The Daily Mail as an example is because it is (sadly) a much more influential publication in the UK. Sad, but true.

    5. “Protecting the old and poor is also the government’s job.” Wrong. Unless you are a communist? This is one of the reasons why I left the UK, people don’t seem to give a toss about the elderly – and here is a prime example, someone like you are claiming it it the government’s responsibility.

    6. “You have no idea how much we are struggling in the UK” Actually, I do. I lived there for ten years and I read your media and I am quite aware of what is going on. And if you’d have read the title of my post, you would have seen that I am not calling the Brits hypocrites, I am calling you hypocrites about fur.

  • Bernadette Vong

    First of all thank you for taking your precious time to give me a long reply, however I would like to ask a few more questions…

    1. Why do you think a lot of people shop in places like Primark? Or is it just people like you (fashion/lifestyle blogger who blog about fashion as a living), who has to be on trend all the time, bought it, regret it, and throw it into the bin? Main question is, what kind of people shop at Primark primarily, and how often? For sure!?

    2. How many people in the UK are like you, a fashion blogger? Who would throw away cheap clothes in no time? I mean, WHO can say what do they do with it???? Do we have an official figure? It is A LOT OF ASSUMPTION to use Primark customers as bias to make a point that cheap fashion equals to “quick into the bin”, don’t you think? And why didn’t you acknowledge although it is cheap fashion, people in the UK do recycle (sad, i know, but it’s true) on places such as Ebay ? (Haven’t you yet checked?)

    3. When was your last 10 years of UK residency? Do you know that now every month majority of the residence in the UK receives free donation bags to donate their unwanted clothes to any charity? Even if you don’t get one through the post box, and you are a busy-bee, do you know that you can go online to request a collection from your chosen charity!

    4. “The words “100% cruelty free” are an oxymoron, as all new fashion makes some kind of negative impact in some way.” Well, I agree with you, nothing is 100% cruelty free. But doesn’t it apply to anything else too? isn’t it a problem of all kind of waste that human generates? If more or less fashion makes some kind of negative impact anyway, what do you propose we should do? Not buy any new clothes anymore? Is it not important that makers, developers, manufacturers, be pushed to be more eco-conscious and educate people, what their customers are buying into?

    5. During your stay in the UK (London?) how many people you’ve seen were wearing those yucky fake fur you mentioned? I’ve been living in this country forever, London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, I think I’ve only seen a handful of people wearing fake fur coat out, and that was in the East London, and was probably a drag. What you see in the shops, doesn’t mean the majority will buy it and wear it!? Like I said, most of us know we are not Kate Moss, and anyone who is respectable enough don’t wear any fake or real fur coat.

    6. Ok, so Stella McCartney is not one in a million as a fashion designer, but at least she doesn’t sell real fur or leather, when she says she doesn’t believed in animals cruelty. I thought you were talking about hypocrites for fur!?

    (Talk about house pricing… When the UK government welcome tons of OVERSEAS BUYERS to purchase property as investment, local residency has to compete with loaded oversea buyers for housing. Thanks to Cameron, UK laws is making the country attracts the riches, and kicking the poor in the nuts. So it is more of a political problems. Are you aware (in a recent study from last month), every time a new residential area is being built in the UK (normal suburban housing), developers is allowed by law to give and has sold 50% of the properties to overseas buyers? Isn’t it clear that when the population has grown so much, with bigger demand on housing than ever, UK isn’t building enough (affordable) housing? We are not talking about lack of huge mansions for someone like Stella McCartney to own!Isn’t it more like the responsibility that the government has to review to make better law and to regulate to protect her own citizens? )

    7. About the average monthly circulation (of the newspaper you have given), is it recent? Can we compare the last 5-10 years circulations figures of all the main newspaper to conclude that DAILY MAIL indeed THE MOST influential publication in the UK? My point is, people these days read their news online (I, for one), if you have a figure of how many people in the population in the UK now own a smart phone, or a tablet I think it gives you an answer that selling the hard copies doesn’t equal as the whole lot readership. And to use THAT figure to represent the whole of the UK, yes, I’m baffled…

    8. What evidence has shown you that people don’t care about the elderly in the UK? ( If protecting the old and poor isn’t also PART of the government’s job, what is the welfare system is for?) I don’t mean just tossed all the poor and elderly to the government and we brush our hands off and say it’s none of our business. I don’t mean that at all, and it is clearly not how it is.

    But what do the Canadian do, a regular Canadian citizen do? (I am genuinely interested!) Do you guys (everyone of you) go to visit an elderly home every week to do activities with them? I’ve heard how friendly a Canadian is, or how polite a Canadian always is, but besides that I really don’t know much about you guys! And oh, the annual baby seal hunt where days-old baby seals got hacked to death in front of their poor mothers!

    Do you drive into a poor neighbourhood full of goodies gathered in your own neighbourhood and delivered to the poor and old often? I mean, what isn’t the UK people is not doing to help the old and poor? What are you proposing we should do? I am genuinely don’t understand, maybe you can enlighten me with the Canadian way. Do you know how many big businesses, such as Tesco, setting up food bank, where normal (any) customers can help donating essential foods items to the food bank while shopping? On daily basis? Have you heard how many people donate for their local causes? or to volunteer? Really, what have we done to make you so pissed off?

    9. Do you know how many protests and uproar that the government makes cuts on social supports, hospitals , schools fundings and used a lot of those money to send troops to Afghanistan instead? Do you know how many people got pissed off when Bob Geldof gathered all the British singers to make a song to pull donations towards for people who is infected with Ebolo in Africa, but no such media act to raise awareness or donations towards the old and poor? You said, “they clam to love animals but don’t take care of the people?” But yet saying, “each local high street is lined with charity shops to raise money for the old?” well, isn’t the money being raised is to help the old? Isn’t that one of the ways to help the old and poor, from the general public? Has anyone in the UK actually said, YEAH, we love animals, but sod the poor and old!?!?!?! I’m sorry but your claim on such accusation is so contradicted.

    10.. Lastly, who is not subjected of being a hypocrites for fur????? Those who wear fur and proud of fur? Sure. Let everyone of us in the world, go kill all animals, eat their meat, and wear their fur and skin. Probably no animals except human beings left in this world in the foreseeable future, but at least we don’t have hypocrites for fur in this world anymore. All jolly better?

    WHO IS PERFECT?

    Giving all the accusations you made, but given no constructive solutions, this topic (seems to be) pointing ONLY the Brits are hypocrites for fur, is hugely non-constructive, and unfair.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    1. Look at the numbers behind Primark’s growth. Look at figures, look at their growth. Walk into a store and see how it is rammed full of people buying bags of clothes. That’s how we know they are doing well.

    2. It is not just fashion bloggers that throw away cheap clothes. Again – look at the numbers. Clothing is filling up landfills and we throw away more clothing now than we ever did. Just so you know, when I write blog posts (and comments) I don’t just make up facts in my head. http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/sustainable-fashion-blog/rescuing-thrown-away-fashion-in-pictures

    3. I left less than 5 years ago.

    4. I suggest we buy less clothing, and better quality clothing made sustainably with a high standard of ethics. That’s not 100% cruelty free but it is better than cheap crap from the high street.

    5. I saw at least 100 fake fur things on the tube every day. It was a lot. A LOT.

    6. Do you know what her disgusting synthetics are made out? Petroleum. And petroleum is hardly cruelty-free. Think oil spills and wars… Plus it not sustainable and gross.

    7. Christ. You really don’t read the newspaper, do you? because if you did you would have some sort of understanding that the Guardian is NOT the most influential newspaper in the UK. It is, in fact, The Sun. Just because you read the Guardian online, doesn’t mean no one reads the Daily Mail online. It is a fact that the “good” British newspapers are not the ones forming public opinion. Sad, but true.

    8. The number of charities that exist for British pensioners is an excellent indication of how much help they need (and therefore are not getting it from elsewhere.) I’m not saying that the Brits treat their elderly worse than other, i am saying that they care more about animals than they do the elderly.

    9. Of course I know the protests. I read the newspaper. The problem is deep. However, you could start protesting the fact that 35 billion GBP are lost every year to non-dom tax exiles.

    10. I’m sorry to say this, but I really don’t think you have the right level of knowledge to be debating this subject as you do not appear to have an understanding of the basic facts. Do you understand the concept of a “sustainable resource”?? Animals are sustainable resources. If we take a few, and leave a lot, then they breed, and their populations grow, and we can take some more. They are like plants. We take some, but not all, ensure their environment is protected so they can repopulate, and then we can take more. THIS IS SUSTAINABILITY. This is the opposite of oil (which is what synthetics are made out of.) Cotton is a plant, but the amount of water needed to process it is not sustainable. I think you need to do a lot of research to better understand how the environment and industry work.

    Anyway, I’m afraid I am going to have to end this conversation now because the only thing worse than arguing with someone who is abusive and rude, is someone doesn’t understand the basic facts they are arguing. I’m sorry darling, but I suggest you brush up on your research and facts before you come back here.