Karl Lagerfeld is wrong about animal fur. He told The New York Times:
“For me, as long as people eat meat and wear leather, I don’t get the message…”
Karl Lagerfeld has spent 50 years at the Fendi label. Fendi are the well-known Italian furriers. So Mr Lagerfeld has been involved with designing fashion accessories manufactured out of the skin and fur of animals for a very long time.
The reason why he misunderstands the situation is this. Meat and leather is produced in a humane way or it should be under the law. In other words in the meat industry animals are stunned first and then killed; the objective is that the animal does not feel pain when slaughtered. Yes, we know that there are abuses in abattoirs but at least the law is very specific in its objectives.
However, China is the global centre of the fur trade and China produced 35 million mink pelts last year. 87.2 m were produced globally in 2013 – 2014 with a value of £2.2 billion. Many cats and dogs are killed inhumanely for their fur. This fur is in fashion accessories all over the world.
We know that the cats and dogs who give up their skin to the Chinese fur trade suffer cramped, filthy cages until they are either electrocuted or bludgeoned to death and it does not matter whether they are actually dead or not when the skin is ripped off them. Sometimes they are conscious when it happens and they take ten minutes to die.
Now, I hope that Mr Karl Lagerfeld understands the difference between meat and leather and fur.
The reason why I making this point is that “fur is back as the natural choice for a second skin”, so says the Times newspaper today.
Fur is making a comeback, which I find depressing. Twenty-one years ago, well-known catwalk supermodels staged an anti-fur campaign. Only one of those models, Christie Turlington has stayed true to her word. Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford have featured in advertising campaigns for fur houses. Claudia Schiffer and Elle Macpherson have also failed to stick to their word.
And what is particularly depressing is that they are not out of step with public opinion. The International Fur Federation (IFF) tell us that the fur industry is continuing to grow.
“Designers now use it as they would any other fabric. The younger generation have different priorities – they see fur around more, and there has been a change in attitude.”
Kim Kardashian and her husband Kayne West often wear fur. They dressed their 21 month-year-old daughter in a £2,000 fox coat for New York Fashion Week. Ingrid Newkirk the founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said:
“You see further on the catwalks now, but that’s only because furriers are hurling it at designers free of charge.”
I’d like to go back to the argument that Karl Lagerfeld presents to us that as long as there is meat and leather why can’t there be fur also. I have provided one reason why his argument is poor but there is certainly an argument to be made that if we did not create leather goods it will be much harder for the fur industry to justify its existence. And then, of course, we should go back to “meat”. If you kill animals for meat then businesses would not want to throw away the animal’s skin or use it in a less profitable way and so the leather industry is, as I see it, built upon the meat industry.
Karl Lagerfeld is the caretaker of a so called Siamese cat, Choupette.