Norway’s Fur Ban Sends Shock Waves to Kopenhagen
The reports from Oslo Fashion Week, where fur has been banned, are coming in:
Norway’s biggest annual design showcase, Oslo Fashion Week (OFW), banned fur from its catwalk this year – an international first that has been greeted by praise within the country and criticism from the fur industry and some in the Scandinavian fashion community.
The fur ban came after leading industry figures in Norway – including Kjell Nordström (known as ‘Baron von Bulldog’), Fam Irvoll and Hilde Marstrander – formed the “Mote mot pels” (Fashion against fur) campaign, in cooperation with animal welfare organization NOAH. The fur industry has been the target of protests after appalling conditions were revealed at fur farms last year. Read the Full Article HERE.
It’s no surprise that the world’s most powerful fur organization, Kopenhagen Furs, reacted like a high-school teen that just got dumped. In the organization’s February publication, editor in chief and managing director, Torben Neilson said in his opening editorial “Norweigen Fashion does not take up much room on the international fashion scene, so the world will survive the ban, but it is really interesting that those who claim to be part of the fashion industry think that being part of fashion industry means that you have to be politically correct“. Defying percieved “political correctness” is a lame attempt at identifying as a rebel – but as more and more people awaken to the reality that business-as-usual in fur production requires living, feeling, wild animals to be treated like numb objects with no valid perspective, undeserving of consideration, things will continue to move in the direction of truth, compassion, and justice. There is nothing rebellious or defiant about viewing animals as undeserving of living out the physical and emotional lives that nature and evolution designed. Quite the contrary, this view is painfully mainstream and ordinary. The horrors of killing methods including anal and vaginal electrocution, gassing, injection, neck snapping, and the horrors of life on fur farms where most animals experience extreme confinement-based psychological torment, physical decay, untreated injuries – sometimes even resorting to stress-induced cannibalism, are the furthest thing from a “good taste and sense of quality”.
This historical ban is unprecedented and Kopenhagen’s reaction is flaccid and predictable – it’s not like a congratulations or even silence can be expected from a profit-seeking enterprise whose entire existence depends upon stripping animals of individual identity (and skin) in exchange for money. Nor can we expect any sort of objective fashion critique concerning the use of fur from a group of people with a vested interest in tearing the skin from the bodies of more than 20 million animals a year for something that is ultimately only decorative and increasingly easy and affordable to substitute. It is important to remember that, while those of use who dare to stand up for animals whose perspective is invalidated have nothing to gain but freedom for these wild animals, the fur industry has money and power at stake, and they will do and say just about anything to protect it.
Torben Neilson continues, “It is difficult to define fashion clearly, but it is fashion’s function to give individuals the opportunity to express their personality through the clothes they wear. It is in the nature of fashion to explore and challenge, so it goes without saying that fashion can never be politically correct. Designers wanting to be politically correct and designers creating for the complacent and fearful are not part of the fashion industry. They design uniforms for those wishing to disappear into the crowd”.
This final statement from Mr. Neilson makes me cringe only because I wonder how the PR department allowed this to go out. If we believe his feigned concern for unbridled individualism wherein fashion has no ethical limits, we should pay more careful attention to the lesson of Johnathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal“.
Mr. Neilson, your assessment that those who care about animals are feeble is a dangerous underestimation. But don’t take it from me – Oslo is just the beginning. There is an international groundswell of young designers who are driven by gorgeous aesthetics and cutting edge technology that does no require compromising ethics, heroism, justice, ecology, compassion, or an active vision of a future that has evolved from infantile self-gratification. Fur is stagnant. It is going nowhere. There is nothing new to discover about fur, we’ve seen it all, and all that’s left to see is the production process which cannot be hidden forever. While there is an endless rennissance of potential new textiles and processes yet to celebrate, you are stuck with stiff, old fur. While the rest of the great innovators are carried by the inspired momentum of endless possibility, you are stuck with brittle, smelly fur. While emerging talent actively envisions a future that brings ecology, art, and consciousness together, you are stuck with mean, primitive fur. These are the real rebels, and you will be seeing more and more of them.