Should Fashion Finally Ban Fur?
17 June 2021
Author: Jasmine Waters
The age-old battle wages on. Earlier this month, a variety of publications including Drapers looked to dig further into why the fashion industry is so divided, as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have launched a call for evidence during ongoing plans for post-Brexit animal welfare standards to be tightened. The impact onto small brands and business owners could be extremely noticeable – but what are the current arguments for and against the complete banning of fur?
Why shouldn’t we ban fur?
According to interviewees, sales of fur products have increased by 200% over the last decade. Both sides of the coin claim that public interest sways in their favour, but in a conscious consumer world, it seems unlikely that many would be in favour of current regulations continuing. As we saw after the introduction of Canada Goose into London’s Regent Street, many of us have strong feelings about what animal products we buy. There’s no doubt there would be economic impact associated with stricter regulations both here and abroad, and those that oppose a ban claim that changes would indicate a larger emphasis on what society can and can’t wear. Despite the fact that many consumer groups already experience this (e.g. hostility to religious modest dressing), law-enforcement agencies could check if a product was real or fake, as well as a possible gateway into restrictions on other animal products like wool and leather. Many argue that further fur restrictions could be unenforceable, pushing sales online where checks could be slightly more frugal. There’s potential for job loss in the UK market, as well as damage to London as a global fashion hub. As Northern Ireland is still operating under EU customs rules, a ban on fur could cause division that contradicts the Internal Markets Act. Fur also issues a counterpoint to environmental synthetic harm, acting as a natural and sustainable material.
Why should we?
The main con is of course animal abuse issues, seeming out-dated with the general consumer consensus. There’s a growing refusal of bigger retailers to sell fur, while there inadvertently lies a human risk to zoonotic disease. In recent year, the fur industry has also lost previous respectability and trust, mis-labelling real fur as fake. This mistrust has also been a starting point for lobbying against the use of fake fur itself, despite figures showing more commonly used synthetic fabrics like polyester cause a much greater percentage of environmental harm. It is a fabric that rarely needs deep washing, making it also low maintenance.
There seems to be no real conclusive answer to whether fur garments will receive further restrictions or not. Regardless, there looks to be great consumer interest, with small brands and agents undeniably impacted. The conscious nature of modern consumers will only continue to grow, so fur garments will need to be as ethical as possible in addition to any new security.
Image source: https://news.sky.com/story/labour-pledges-ban-on-fur-imports-to-the-uk-11394171