Though it shames me to say it, I am a member of an overwhelmingly apathetic generation. Sure, I can claim to have feminist opinions, or boast that I observed 2011’s anti-cut student protests with a great sense of pride at the thought that someone somewhere was doing something about the state of current affairs. Nonetheless, like most students (including those in denial) I certainly fit the mould of the topshop-wearing-gap-yah-pining-#1stworldproblem-plagued undergraduate. Throughout recent years I developed an unattractive, nonchalant attitude towards reoccurring debates; drug taking, climate change, fox hunting and even the buying of fur clothing. These were issues I was able to shrug off, unscathed. Until, I came face to face with the fox.
It was a dreary, grey, Saturday afternoon in Leeds and like most of the characters which feature in stories with narrative openings such as this; I was minding my own business. All of a sudden, I was confronted with the remains of a fox, draped pathetically over a banister; the perfect metaphor of what it’s life had become. I reacted to my findings in the same way that any 21st century gal about town would, screamed and then started snapping away on my iPhone (shameful but true).
Of course I was aware of the creepy fox stole ongoing trend, but until this moment I was blissfully unaware of the fact that in modern times, women actually chose to adorn themselves with fox furs, eyes sewn shut and noses and claws still intact. The owner of the stole, who shall remain anonymous, was said to have bought the item off eBay, and claimed that the item was, “cheaper than a fake one”. Yet, something tells me that the piece was bought not because of its price, but more as a consequence of its eyebrow raising nature, and the stigma of British aristocracy that would undoubtedly come with it. Not many women seeking a fake furry winter scarf, would settle on a fox skin, (complete with face) in order to save a pound or two.
That said, the feeble excuse put my mind to rest and I am pleased to announce that for the most of the time, I managed to live my daily life without any thought of the dead fox that was existing in my boyfriend’s hallway… That was at least until three months later when I came across something even more warped than the fur fella I’d met in Leeds… A faux fur fox stole, inc. fake face.
Instead of screaming and immediately shooting images of the scarf, I cried out in disgust (or just grunted)… and then caught the monstrosity on camera! As well as being entirely unwearable and more than slightly toyish/ ugly, the monster created by H & M begs some serious questions about the state of mind of today’s consumers. The garment highlights the ongoing debate about whether the UK still has a class problem, and implies that as Britain continues to battle through the recession, that mainstream fashion has returned to its conservative, wealth conscious and primalistic tendencies.
The fact that the designers at Hennes conceived such an item, and that money has been spent on the manufacture of this furry friend implies that the fashion house not only thinks that the British public have bad taste, but also that women up and down the country will buy, and enjoy wearing a replica of a body of a dead animal avec tail and ears. The synthetic scarf ticks every ethical box, while still enabling consumers to parade around in a primitive- esque piece.
In truth, I flinched as much as the next Carrie B wannabe when those crazed anti- fur protestors threw paint in the shade of ‘fur is murder’ all over Samantha’s genuine fur coat in SATC; so it’s even more puzzling than anything, as to why I find this particular garment so distressing. My already lowish opinion of numero uno skater girl Avril Lavigne plummeted when I found that she had been spotted ‘rocking’ the H &M faux fox scarf, but surely it is hypocritical of me to proclaim my hatred of a teddy-bear-esque neck warmer all over Impact’s style section and pore over every faux fur Cossack hat that Nottingham’s vintage scene has to offer?
It could well be that H & M’s winter accessory is to be taken with a pinch of salt and a side order of irony. But worryingly, it would seem that the majority of the high streets inhabitants are too apathetic to the wearing of fur, for them to buy and wear the piece as an anti- fur statement. Something tells me that Hennes is banking on a number of high street shopper who are have not cottoned on to the fact that eBay and other such sites are overflowing with cheap authentic furs, and cashing in on humanity’s savage underlying urges to flaunt the wearing of animals, as a representation of personal success and luxury.
One would have assumed that with the development of technology and alternative resources – by the 21st century, the wearing of fur would have become a thing of the past. Yet with style icons like Kate Moss and the Olsen twins regularly stepping out in animal skins, it is unlikely that their masses of style fans will abandon fur’s place in the fashion industry any time soon.