Our Thoughts About Using Fur

The Coat Check has thought long and hard about our re-use of vintage fur. We do not want to inadvertently participate in any increased market demand for new, non-cruelty-free furs or otherwise promote any further cruelty to animals through the production of our products. However, we do want to make respectful use of the large quantity of otherwise unusable vintage fur coats in existence, a particularly large quantity in cold climates such as Canada where until recently fur was an essential feature of life in winter. The question of the use of vintage fur is a difficult one to untangle, and our decision to use fur is one that we have discussed at length.

We believe that with few exceptions modern human civilization has failed to live up to its social contract with the other animals on this planet. This failure includes not only bad trapping and pelt-farming methods, but also cruel, widespread factory farming methods for producing meat, dairy products, leather, glues and other "products," and certain uses of animals for work and entertainment. Of all these uses and products, it somehow seems that fur most graphically advertises its relationship to the animal from which it came. Either because of its luxury status, its natural beauty or more likely because of its untransformed resemblance to its original source, fur more vividly captures the human imagination and more easily awakens our barely submerged anxieties about our killing of other species. This is no doubt why fur has become, perhaps irrationally, a greater political flashpoint than any of the other animal products used by humans, many of which are no different than fur in this regard.

At The Coat Check we believe that all of the above treatments of animals need to be reconsidered. We are animal lovers and we do not wish to promote cruelty in any way. We do think that the fur that has been taken from wild and farmed animals over the many past decades and centuries should at least be respectfully honoured and cared for, rather than carelessly thrown away in another act of thoughtless disregard. By our craftsmanship we try to embody this ethic of care, but clearly nothing can erase past cruelties. To this end we financially support local animal protection societies in their efforts to prevent further cruelty to animals.

Lastly, a word about faux fur.

Faux fur, which is made from acrylic, is an environmentally unsustainable fabric. Acrylic is a plastic made from toxic, petrochemical-based materials which, when heated to produce a plastic polymer, release fumes of even greater toxicity. And to add insult to injury, once manufactured, the faux-fur end product loses its looks quickly with wear, is forever non-biodegradable, and can not be recycled. Find information about acrylic and faux fur at madehow.com and answers.com. Our feeling is use genuine fur or don't, but never consider faux fur an ethical substite for it. At Coat Check we have produced products from used faux-fur in the past - the rag houses are full to the brim with discarded faux-fur coats - but we found that the material does not stand up well over time and that aesthetically speaking it fails to do what it sets out to do. In terms of its feel and appearance it's less fur and more faux.


Copyright © The Coat Check 2008