Friday, 10 October 2014

The dark side of sustainable fashion

Following on from my last blogpost hailing charity shops as havens for top quality fabrics, I stumbled upon the video below which really made me think about the examples charity shops set to the fashion industry.  The video shows one of the most shocking depictions of animal cruelty I have ever seen, in which a rabbit's fur is ripped from its body whilst it screams in pain.  This, it turns out, is how they make Angora.

Whilst there has been an ongoing campaign to ban this product from the UK fashion industry, with many big brands such as GAP adhering to the boycott, it can still be found in many vintage and charity shops all over the country.

Why is this?  Well there can be no denying that the resale of fur is a lucrative business for struggling charities. Not only does it provide a great source of income, but it gives the shop an air of prestige by stocking such high quality items. More importantly however there is an ease of conscience that comes with recycled fur. "It's already dead" or "It's making the animal's death more worthwhile" are easy excuses to justify wearing the skin of a dead animal.

However, what isn't recognised is the example recycled fur is setting to the public; reversing years of campaigning and instead making fur an acceptable sight on the high street once again. Without Oxfam tags dangling from the collar of coats, there is little way of identifying vintage fur from new fur. Thus, a culture of fur wearing has slowly been introduced back in to the UK and consequently new trends have been established.

So what can be done about this?  I propose charity shops enforce their own ban on unethical clothing, falling in line with industry standards that are in place for a good reason. However lucrative it may be, the resale of fur means charities are profiting from injustice and therefore undermining everything they stand for. If charities aren't prepared to unite, stand up and set an example against cruelty, how can we expect others to?

If you would like to find out more about the campaign against Angora, click here


  1. I never realized that this sort of thing was happening! That video was genuinely hard to watch, and I, personally, am not really an animal person. Thank you for enlightening me about this; I can't believe I was blind to the issue.