By Dustin Garrett Rhodes

You Look Just as Stupid Wearing Theirs

Fashion Week kicks off today-the twice a year, week-long occasion for designers to show off their latest creations to magazine editors, select bloggers, journalists, celebrities and the fashion elite. It’s a sad time for animal advocates, however; the bodies of countless animals are displayed in the form of full-length furs, fur trim, leather, shearling, reptile skins and more. Whether we are drawn to fashion or not, it’s hard to stomach the gruesome display. The runways are drenched in animals, and it only seems to get worse-despite decades long campaigns to sway public opinion. It’s especially disheartening to know that designers like Giorgio Armani and Donna Karan, who once pledged to go fur-free, are back to their animal-exploiting ways.

There are some bright spots, however. John Bartlett, the renowned, award-winning designer, announced at a Fashion and Animals event at Jivamukti Yoga in New York City this past week that his next collection will be animal product-free: “I want to show a fully vegan collection. I want to make sure there’s intention behind it.”

Another bright spot: Norway recently made fashion history-by becoming the first country in the world to ban fur on its runways during its Fashion Week. Paul Vasbotten, general manager of the Oslo Fashion Week, called the decision a “natural choice” to “increase ethical values in fashion.” That’s not to say that the runway is animal-free-but that’s still huge news.

As animal advocates, it’s our task to encourage designers to create clothes that respect animals and the environment, too. Whether we’re fashion obsessed or simply dressed, this industry possesses enormous and undeniable power and influence. Fashion needn’t be synonymous with exploitation; there are more and more companies who create entirely vegan product lines; Cri De Coeur, Vaute Couture, Olsen Haus, Matt and Natt all create completely vegan, eco-friendly creations for the fashion-minded among us.

For more information about the realities of fur, peruse our website. We offer some terrific flyers which target the ubiquitous fur trim; you can order them here.

What will it take? How can we convince more designers to keep animals off the runway? Offer your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below.