Recently it felt like the fashion world was making some good decisions. With Gucci following in the steps of other major fashion brands (Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Stella McCartney to name a few) and going fur-free, you could be forgiven for thinking that fashion was finally catching on to the fact that fur is outdated, cruel, and unethical. But that was before British Vogue decided to feature a full-page advert for the International Fur Federation (wearefur.com) in their February issue.
The International Fur Federation (IFF) is a vocal defender of the ethics and sustainability of the fur business, claiming that ‘animal welfare is a top priority for the IFF’. In an attempt to reassure the public about the treatment of animals raised and killed for fur products, the fur industry has offered up ‘Origin Assured’ fur. But the reality is that these labels are no guarantee of animal welfare or humane treatment. This video from Peta, narrated by singer Paloma Faith, exposes the unspeakably violent and inhumane practices behind even supposed ‘Origin Assured’ fur.
Let’s be clear, there is absolutely no way that farming, trapping and skinning animals for their pelts can possibility be ethical. It isn’t possible to claim an interest in animal welfare when you’re partaking in one of the cruelest and frankly unnecessary industries around.
The IFF advert carried the tagline ‘Furnow and Forever’, but the reality is that the fur industry is in decline. Brands are responding to public pressure to provide ethical faux alternatives- a demand that the fur industry simply cannot cater for. Fur is never ethical, and it no longer has a place in fashion. To quote Marco Bizzarri, CEO of Gucci, it’s not ‘modern’.
So why British Vogue, has a fur advertisement made it into your glossy pages in 2018?
The decision is particularly confusing since British Vogue does not promote fur products editorially. Speaking to The Guardian in 2009, Alexandra Shulman said that British Vogue ‘broadly speaking’ doesn’t feature fur. ‘However, there is an element of common sense to my policy on this which dictates that since we are there to report on fashion trends, if those trends include fur we will, for instance, show catwalk images that include fur.’
However, their policy on advertising does not seem to work on the same codes. A spokesperson for the magazine spoke out in the backlash against new editor Edward Enninful and the IFF advert:
‘Vogue’s policy has not changed. From an advertising perspective, it has always been the commercial policy to accept fur advertisements as long as they strictly respect British and European Union legislation. Vogue may make reference to fur editorially as a trend if it is being featured on the catwalk.’
It seems as though the magazine is happy to turn a blind eye when it comes down to advertising. And while the final decision on advertisements is probably out of Edward Enninful’s hands, it betrays a tone deaf and out-dated attitude to fashion on the part of the brand. The backlash could easily have been predicted, and we can only hope that British Vogue learn from their mistakes and reconsider their advertising policies.
Follow Annie Simon on Twitter: @annieasimon
This article originally appeared on The Debrief.