Fall and Faux - Warmth without Harm
From working in the fashion industry, I saw all sides. The fabric sourcing to the design room, to the sample making, to the production. And I mean both ends of production. The sights in factories in developing countries are unimaginable, animals skinned alive right in front of each other. Each animal tied up to a post and all because, well it’s cost effective.
Euthanizing each animal costs too much for fabric houses, hiring cheap labor to skin cows alive for leather and suede production increases their margin and creates a better wholesale cost to brands. But watching the animal in excruciating pain and the unbearable sounds was enough to make me never want to support the leather or animal fur industry again. All hair of an animal used in production for apparel alternatives left my mind completely of being uber cool, but rather a turn off of wearing something dead. Many people think just because sheep, or alpacas, or goats, or rabbits do not die, therefore it’s okay to wear their fur.
However, if you were to take a 20-minute tour into the factories where these animals get their hair removed, engage with the abusive workers who do the job, then I doubt you would support that industry too. Truth is, these animals are going through terrible pain, and even more, pain again once their hair grows back. They are left alive in painful health, so the factory owners do not have to keep breeding them. Rather than killing them, they get their hair pulled or cut off, often left with many open wounds. They relive the torture all over again once their hair grows back. And the conditions they live in are unsanitary.
Which brings me to the next point, if you care about your own health, you would have to consider all the chemicals and substances injected into animal hair or cow skin to keep it from not smelling like a dead carcass. To keep it sanitary enough for it to go into manufacturing. All the dyes and the steaming pots of chemicals. Once you take a look at what poor health these factory workers are in from breathing in these chemicals, you will gain insight into how much these substances are bad for you to be wearing as clothing, or over your shoulder as an accessory in handbags.
While brands, especially luxury brands; do have the power and influence to design using faux. They choose not too. Canceling fur from production has become a trend, with luxury houses like Versace, Gucci and Michael Kors setting the example, I can only hope it will extend to leather, suede and all animal derived fabric in the next decade. There are other great alternatives, like Pineapple Leather. This, I’ll talk about in a future post.