Why Dog Lovers Care About the Fashion Fur Debate

 |  Feb 18th 2011  |   2 Contributions


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Once again, Fashion Week is here. The eyes of style followers all over the globe are focused on New York for news of the latest trends in what people will be wearing next Fall. And alreadythe runways are full of dead animal skins as many prominent fashion designers continue to use fur, despitepleasfrom animal welfare organizations. Some of these designers - Oscar de la Renta, for instance - even call themselves animal lovers! Talk about a disconnect.

There are so many hot topics to worry about - likeMichael Vick's controversial Oprah appearance, whichwas canceled after dog lovers protested it. ShouldDogsters even pay attention to the anti-fur debate? Absolutely.

Why? Because fur isn't just harvested from minks, foxes, baby seals, and other innocent wildlife. Tragically, domestic animals we consider beloved pets and best friends are being exploited for their pelts too.

In China, dogs are farmed, crammed in too-small cages, and skinned alive for their fur. Skinned alive. Think about that. Dogs just like yours and your fellow Dogsters'.

Incredible but true. It's a simple matter of convenience and economics.

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With a shrug, Chinese fur farmerssay it's easier to skin awarmdog than a dead one. Canine fur is then exported all over the world, including the United States, where it's used in apparel manufacture. In an attempt to prevent customers from feeling buyer's remorse, retailers assure customers that the animals were "humanely euthanized." But there's nothing humane about fur or how it's harvested.

The documentary film "Skin Trade,"made by dog lover Shannon Keith, ends on the unforgettable footage of a dog being skinned alive, twitching forway too manylong, excruciating seconds before finally dying. That final image aloneshould beincentiveenough to make a Dogster care about the fashion fur debate.

Now, here's more incentive: A glamorous new fashion magazine that's completelycruelty-free has hit the scene. It's called"Pinnacle: Reinvent The Icon" and its goal is to prove - with compelling photographs and copy - that fur is the opposite of chic. The dead opposite.

Founded by Joshua Katcher, who has a very stylishblog called The Discerning Brute and a very stylishChihuahua called Enzo, Pinnacle strives to be "an image-driven initiative to educate the style-savvy about the true meaning of fur." Printed on recycled paper with soy inks, theoversize broadsheet features a wide array of talents, from designers and writersto modelsand artists. Everyone involved is anti-fur.

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The new issue lampoons Anna Wintour, the Vogue editor-in-chief who isfamous for her attachment to fur and indifference to animal suffering. In the photo at right, which recalls a famousscene from the classic Tod Browning movie "Freaks," a fictitious fashionista called "AnnaMal Kingdom" is tamed by an anti-fur animal lover.

The image will resonate, for better and for worse. And that'sKatcher's intention.

"Editors and stylists wield an incredible amount of power over the lives of animals used for fur,"Katcher explains. "These images are intended to be a fun, but serious commentary on the use and celebration of ruthless power within fashion culture, placing people who are at the top of the fashion hierarchy metaphorically on the bottom, where animals are stuck."

Katcherand his team arebrave to take on the most powerful woman in fashion.

Wintour is a brilliant fashion editor who richly deserves her power and glory. She's as intelligent as she is gorgeous: a real style icon. She is such an important arbiter of taste that, ifWintour were tocome out against fur, the force of her decision would literally change the lives of millions of animals. That would be an amazing legacy, and a dazzling chapter for thestyle history books: FashionShows Compassion.

PETA would probably nominateWintour for sainthood, and millions ofgrateful dog lovers would become loyal supporters of a fur-free Vogue. That's a lot of new subscriptions. Follow that money, fashionistas!

Perhaps if all the dog lovers around the world would stop buyingfur-loving fashion magazinesand cancel their subscriptions, itmight evenhappen.The late, great fashion designer Franco Moschino said it best: "Fur is worn by beautiful animals and ugly people."

Dogsters, what do you think of fur? Please tell us in the comments.

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