Service of Fur Clothing and Accessories: To Ban or Not

May 16th, 2019

Categories: Bans, Fashion, Fur

Sales figures don’t lie. Suzanne Kapner reported that compared to the low in 2009 [reflecting recovery from the mini crash of 2008 no doubt?] fur sales more than doubled in 2018, reaching their “highest level in 17 years, according to Euromonitor International.” The all time high was in 1999.

In her Wall Street Journal article, “Bans on Fur threaten a Resurgence,” Kapner wrote that in spite of brands such as Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and Gucci which no longer use fur and others, such as Coach, that won’t as of fall, others add it everywhere. “Once mainly used in coats, fur is now used to adorn everything from sneakers to pillows to purses. Sales at Canada Goose Holdings Inc., known for its down parkas trimmed in coyote fur, jumped 50% in the most recent quarter from a year ago. Macy’s Inc., which sells a number of fur products including mink coats and rabbit-fur keychains, has said fur sales are ‘fairly strong.’” Kapner noted fur lined gloves and loafers as well and don’t forget hats and scarves.

The impact of those who support the fur ban is powerful. The Federal Trade Commission, according to Kapner, “settled charges against Neiman Marcus and several other retailers that were accused of selling real fur labeled as fake.” Imagine that!

LA and San Francisco already have banned sales and New York City, California and New York State are considering doing so.

About New York City, CBS News reported yesterday: “The council’s Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business licensing will consider the fur ban which would prohibit the sale of fur apparel in the city except for fur that is worn for religious reasons.” Fines would range from $500 to as much as $1,500.

WCBS Newsradio 880 morning show’s Wayne Cabot tweeted: “Notice two beavers on the official crest of NYC, which was built on fur and remains the USA’s fur capitol. A city council bill to ban sales has fur flying.” Reporter Alice Stockton-Rossini responded: “Thanks for the Beaver update! Not sure you can ban fur w/o banning leather and eating meat! Can we be humane to animals and still wear and eat them?”

CBS news: “Members of the fur industry say such bans could put 1,100 people out of a job in the city alone. Supporters dismiss that and emphasize that the wearing of fur is barbaric and inhumane.”

Kapner “‘Fake fur is made from petrochemicals and plastic, which is very harmful for the environment,’ said Nancy Daigneault, a vice president at the International Fur Federation, a trade group. ‘It will end up in a landfill and is not biodegradable. Real fur will decompose naturally.’”

Kapner added: “‘Virtually all legislatures that have banned fur—or are considering doing so—have exempted sheepskin,’ said Tom Garcia, the general counsel for Deckers Outdoors Corp., which owns Ugg. ‘They recognize that, unlike luxury furs, sheepskin is a byproduct of food like leather.’”

Back to CBS: “The furriers cast the argument in stark economic terms, pointing out that 98 percent of the industry business owners said they would move out of New York City if the ban were to go into effect…… costing New York City $3.3 billion in revenue in the next decade and leaving lots of empty storefronts.”

Should fur be banned in NYC and everywhere? If you own a fur coat or hat, will you continue to wear it if fur is banned in your city? What will furriers do to make a living? Will the public’s hunger for fur stay steady or be influenced by the bans? How will prices be impacted? If you’ve always wanted a fur coat and couldn’t afford one, will this be your chance to buy one or as contraband will they be even more expensive? Faux fur looks real: Won’t wearers be in danger of protester ire if they wear it?

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19 Responses to “Service of Fur Clothing and Accessories: To Ban or Not”

  1. David Reich Said:

    I have mixed feelings about this.

    I generally feel animals should not be killed for their fur and hides for clothing. Yet we kill millions of animals every year for food, and I do eat meat.

    Perhaps it should be left to choice, so people can buy furs if they want, but see if public opinion can be changed so most people wouldn’t want to buy a fur. I think public opinion has changed over the past 30 years or so, and I would guess that fur sales have gone downward.

    An idea… NY could add a slight surcharge to new furs sold, with that money going to fund ads to explain the impact of furs as fashion, along the lines of the anti-smoking ads funded by fines on the tobacco companies..

  2. ASK Said:

    Has Gucci stopped making fur-lined loafer-slides? I don’t think a small group of zealots should dictate government policy for the rest of us; this is really too slippery a slope. Must we all be vegetarians and pay high prices for faux-leather shoes and handbags á la Stella McCartney?

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:

    David,

    You’d think fur sales would have gone down but in 2018 they were the highest they’ve been in 17 years!

    I, too eat meat and wear leather shoes and own leather handbags though because Bagallinni bags made of what appears to be raincoat material, weigh almost nothing, I tend to prefer them because I carry far too many heavy things daily. However, there is nothing more stunning than a fabulous leather handbag usually made in Italy.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    I find that my feet are happier in leather–they don’t become damp as they do in fake leather and in some sneakers even when worn with socks.

    The Journal article said that Gucci had stopped using fur. It didn’t specify the slides but one would assume. Perhaps they no longer make anything with fur but are selling inventory already made.

  5. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie wrote on Facebook: I love my mink.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Debbie,

    You look stunning in it. Would you feel the same if it was faux fur?

  7. BC Said:

    No fur coats used in Florida.

    Best use I saw of fur- in Alaska, they sell fur(rabbit) lined
    jock straps.

    Another political boondoggle. Hunters will always catch animals with fur, and there will always be a market for fur somewhere!

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    BC,

    I think you win for describing the most unusual use of fur.

    A New Jersey transplant to Florida–he lived there for years as a child–said he was never in his life as cold as he was in Florida because he didn’t own warm clothes for when the weather turned. Doubt he’d have needed fur however. I lived in southern Turkey for two years a long time ago and was told I didn’t need to bring warm clothes. I wore my winter coat countless times all winter and was glad I had it.

  9. Martha Takayama Said:

    I essentially agree with David and Jeanne. I adore good leather bags, I eat chicken, fish and less and less meat, but not for ethical reasons. I did have a fur which I really enjoyed, and do think it was the warmest and most comfortable garment I owned. I hate to think about animals being slaughtered. However, given the state of our country, our society and our world, the levels of poverty, hunger, lack of shelter, clothing, prospects of war, general lack of regard for human beings, I cannot focus on the preoccupations of the anti-fur fanatics. At the risk of sounding cynical I find the concept of causing harm or damages or assaulting human beings for wearing furs not really destined to a priority nor socially justifiable.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    There was a time, in the 1980s I think, where the price of some fur coats, such as mink, was relatively reasonable. Nevertheless I did not want one but my reasons were unrelated to animals. 1) I went to many concerts and ate out a lot at that time and I didn’t want to worry about leaving the coat in my seat at intermission or have it “disappear” from coat check. 2) I thought fur coats would make me look old. 3) I didn’t want to be a thief magnet in the subway. 4) I was also concerned about exorbitant cleaning and storage charges.

    I realize these pedestrian, pragmatic reasons make me unpopular with Friends of Animals. I have loved my cats and dogs–rescues or adoptees from SPCAs–and those of neighbors and friends and have mourned them as I have people. I am not a vegetarian so that I would be a hypocrite to rail against those who kill animals for clothing.

  11. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie wrote on Facebook: No fake is not warm or luxurious. Fake fur throws on a bed are great.

  12. Martha Takayama Said:

    Jeanne,

    I share most of your sentiments, except that I didn’t worry that my nutria coat would make me look too old. I did think it kind of glamorous and ultra warm!

    As for the expenditure, I was thrilled to be able to find a lovely coat in Boston’s legendary Filene’s Basement that was priced modestly enough for me to purchase with my government salary. However, because I lived in Boston, I was selective about when and where I wore it so as not to appear too elitist!

  13. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    I knew a PR woman who haunted a NYC thrift shop known for its furs. She had the most extraordinary fur wardrobe from fox to ermine. However, she said “I never wear a fur to a client meeting. You never want to be better dressed than your client.” I thought of her with your comment about being selective about when and where you wore your nutria.

  14. Ginny Pulos Said:

    Ginny wrote on Facebook: Loved this article, Jeanne. I still think longingly once in a while about having one, but, really, I don’t think I’m that woman any more. I’ve changed. As to your question, like abortion, it should be a personal decision. Stay out of people’s lives, for goodness sake!

  15. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie wrote on Facebook: My coat is not new – I am in fact the 3rd owner. I bought it with gold we melted down when the price for gold was high (2012/13). My “new” fur coat was custom made in 1990. For those who are against fur, let’s see them live without leather and meat.

  16. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Ginny,

    As long as animals bred for food or clothing are humanely treated and killed, animal lovers should be comfortable. I understand protesting if they can prove this is not the case.

    I know many who generously donate to animal causes, have shared their homes and have loved countless pets who also eat meat and wear leather and even fur accessories.

    Moderation seems wise. Something else is going on with vegetarians who won’t eat eggs or drink milk, neither of which harm an animal any more than sheering wool off a sheep hurts these creatures. If a person is allergic to or doesn’t care for the taste of milk and eggs, that’s something else again.

  17. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Debbie,

    Speak about a green take on fur–a third hand coat. Wow! I saw it recently and it’s in magnificent shape. You have taken good care of it and you’ll wear and enjoy it for many more years.

  18. Lucrezia Said:

    I inherited a mink coat but didn’t wear it, in silent protest, since there are plenty of other ways to keep warm without making an innocent animal pay with its life. That shouldn’t mean other’s views don’t matter. Same with abortion in a way — an abominable solution to a touchy problem, but a necessary one as well. Bans on various societal preferences usually tread on another’s rights, so why not mind our business and leave other people alone? Perhaps the courtesy will be returned.

  19. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    There appears to be little tolerance of others in the land. I admit to drawing lines in the sand myself but intolerance seems to be the rule these days. “You’re with me or against me” with little gray area. I appreciate the middle ground you and others propose.

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