The history of fashion traces back to prehistoric times, where we find Ötzi, the famous “ice man,” whose frozen body dating back to 3300 B.C.E. was discovered in the Alps, adorned in full winter clothing, some of which were made of fur. While debatable if Ötzi’s attire aligns with our modern concept of fashion, it likely served a practical purpose. Back then, fashion and its associated luxuries were inaccessible to the majority, except for rulers and kings. Although the complete truth about prehistoric trends may elude us, Ötzi’s clothing highlights the significant role fur played thousands of years ago. Before the advent of weaving, we learned to hunt and utilize every part of animals. Meat was cherished as a sacred meal, bones were fashioned into musical instruments, and skins and furs provided essential clothing, particularly during the Ice Age. These furs might have held a magical function, believed to carry the enchanted spirit of the animal, transferring its energy to the owner.
It is this amalgamation of survival and mysticism that solidifies fur’s enduring place in fashion, evident in the recent surge of faux fur popularity, seen across brands ranging from Pepco to H&M and Stella McCartney. Perhaps our affinity for fur stems from evolutionary processes, compensating for our nakedness as primates. The Ice Age may be a thing of the past, but despite our fascination with swimming, none of us truly enjoys being cold.
In the past, owning a fur garment symbolized human dominance over nature and the animal kingdom. Status was associated with possessing fur, with greater admiration granted for rarer and more predatory species. However, times have changed. Human superiority became evident, evolving into mindless and disrespectful hegemony. The balance between the number of fur animals and fur-loving individuals shifted dramatically. Even if we momentarily set aside ethical concerns and aimed to provide genuine fur coats for everyone experiencing winter worldwide, it would simply be unattainable. Approximately 200 chinchillas or 25 foxes are needed to create a single fur coat. The math is straightforward, and the outcome is alarming. Nevertheless, people found an alternative by producing artificial fur, sparing the suffering of countless animals. While a step in the right direction, it falls short of being the optimal solution. As highlighted in the post “Recycled faux fur – as soft as down”
the majority of faux fur consists of polyester or acrylic, essentially plastic, whose production inflicts significant harm on the environment. While faux fur manufacturers claim eco-friendliness due to its non-animal origin, the truth remains that plastics, including faux fur, indirectly contribute to ecosystem destruction and species extinction.
But here’s the good news! Technological advancements have paved the way for reconciling our innate love for fur without compromising ethics or ecology. We have reached a point where fashion’s whims, our primal desires, and our attraction to fur can be satisfied through high-quality and durable fur products that also contribute to environmental preservation. I wonder what Ötzi would say… 😉
Aurora Desert fur blanket from INSPIRED BY collection from Respirit