Maison Margiela’s John Galliano is the latest designer to join the burgeoning legion against fur – other notable houses that made the change recently include Michael Kors, Versace, Armani and Gucci. The latter caused one of the largest ripples last year when it announced it would no longer include fur in its collections (beginning with S/S’18).

While Gucci may not be the first house to immediately spring to mind when it comes to the material, it did introduce those kangaroo fur-lined backless loafers back in Alessandro Michele’s first collecttion for the house back in 2015 that went on to become a monster hit with the street style set, editors and consumers alike. Still, times change and Gucci’s CEO Marco Bizzarri has declared that the material, long held as one of the traditional bastions of luxury, is no longer considered “modern”.

Of course, there’ll be detractors on both sides – some might argue that Gucci, as one of fashion’s most prominent labels and further elevated under Alessandro Michele, banning fur is a great signal of change and indeed, it might be so, what with both Versace and Margiela following suit this year. Gienchy’s Clare Waight Keller showed a well-received Fall 2018 collection that boasted many fabulous fur coats – all faux.

Givenchy F/W’18

Faux fur seems like the go-to alternative for houses looking to turn away from the real deal – it retains most, if not all of the traditional connotations associated with real fur, but is typically made from synthetic plastic fibres. Problem solved, right? Not really.

If you wish to dig a little deeper into the quandary, some environment activists argue that faux fur might be worse for the environment – the fibres, being synthetic, do not readily biodegrade – even those by long-time vegan champion Stella McCartney. Worse, it appears that faux fux coats allegedly shed micro-beads (tiny balls of plastic) with every wash, a water-polluting substance that has been banned in many countries, including the UK and the United States.

Fur proponents say the real thing is more environmentally-friendly as the material naturally degrades over time – and can be handed down from one generation to another but, depending on your sources (most are murky or really outdated), a real fur coat reportedly requires up to 20 times the energy and resources to manufacture as compared to faux.

It’s a real pickle either way you choose – a debate that’s been raging for years without either side seemingly grabbing the moral upper hand: pick real fur and you’re accused of indifference to animal cruelty. Go for faux and contribute to world pollution. But there might be a third option.

Personally I see no need for fur – real or otherwise. Why not take a stance from John Galliano at Margiela – whose increasingly technologically advanced designs simply cut out the need for fur entirely?

Maison Margiela S/S’18 couture

Or as Charlie Porter’s excellent article for the Financial Times puts it, “But when did the argument become so squarely about real versus fake? It blinkers the conversation… In the fur debate, should it stop being a case of real versus faux — and start being about using neither?”

I’ll say amen to that.

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