Real fur, faux fur, or no fur? Let’s settle the debate that’s had PETA at Ice Spice’s throat. Last night at the 2024 Grammy Awards, Ice Spice stepped out wearing a Y2K-style, denim Baby Phat look with fur trim, that had PETA seeing red. Posting on Instagram, PETA commented that “the fur industry gasses, electrocutes, and peels the skin off animals,” before saying “we hope this Grammys look is faux, for their sake.”
As PETA has since confirmed, the Baby Phat look Ice Spice was wearing actually is made from real (albeit re-purposed, vintage) fur. However, before we knew this for certain, people were commenting under PETA’s Instagram post calling Ice Spice out saying, “fake or not, it’s the same message. She promotes wearing it nevertheless.”
Given the recent popularity of the Mob Wife trend on TikTok – a viral aesthetic that promotes wearing elaborate furs without much care for whether they’re real or fake – conversations around fur have been kicking off lately online. Whilst, undeniably, wearing real fur is something we can’t advocate for, the debate around faux fur is a heated one with arguments for both sides.
Some people argue that faux fur is acceptable because it offers an alternative to the real thing, whilst others claim it’s bad for the environment and still promotes fur even though it’s fake. Given that faux fur (similarly to vegan leather) is primarily made of plastic, it’s not hard to see how it can cause harm to the environment, often using toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process and ending up in landfills after a few years of wear.
@trovlov Heard we’re in our mob wife era #mobwife #mobwifeaesthetic #outfitideas #styleinspo #nycinfluencer ♬ Mob Wife Energy Activate – The Sweet Paisana
In addition to this, whilst wearing a plastic fur coat isn’t nearly as devastating as wearing the skin of a dead animal, many would argue that the intention is still there. As people commented on Ice Spice’s look, she’s still supporting the depiction of fur within fashion, and whilst it is faux, there’s little way of telling this from simply looking at it.
Although, as internet personality and fashion historian Mina Le muses, the issue around fur is really complex. As she puts it, whilst “so much of the fur debate is around ‘should we wear real fur or fake fur?’” There’s a growing attitude among activists that we should eradicate fur altogether, in both real and faux forms. The issue that Mina explains this creates, is that it “codes [fur] as a luxury item.”
As Mina says, “many anti-fur activists want to remove fur fully from the market to remove the luxury symbolism [associated with it.]” But it’s not that simple when viewing fur as a luxury item in the first place is coming solely from a Capitalistic stand-point. Many indigenous groups, particularly those from colder climates, have been sourcing fur ethically for hundreds of years. They hunt the animal rather than breeding it for said purpose alone, and they use the animal for food, tools, clothing, and more, meaning there’s almost no waste.
@gremlita with the potential new trend #mobwifeaesthetic ♬ original sound – Mina Le
Essentially, Mina’s argument is that fur when manufactured in the way Capitalism requires – quickly, cheaply, and using mass production to meet demand – of course it’s unethical. However, there are ways of wearing fur that don’t require financially supporting these practices, from finding real fur second-hand to purchasing fur from indigenous artisans who use ethical means to create the garments.
Mina concludes her TikTok with the statement that, “In the end, I think the discussion should be less about ‘fake fur vs. real fur’ and more about ‘how can we create fur that isn’t made of plastic, and how can we pivot the fur industry into producing fur in a more ethical and sustainable way.”
What do you think of the real fur vs faux fur vs no fur debate? Is it excessive to want to eradicate all forms of fur from production (whether they’re real or not) or is it a necessity if we want to end the normalisation and idealisation of fur in fashion?
Featured image via @icespice©
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