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Fashion guru Tim Gunn talks fur (specifically, what's wrong with it)

November 25, 2009 | 12:47 pm

Our esteemed colleague and Unleashed contributor Patt Morrison caught up recently with Tim Gunn, the main man behind the popular fashion-themed reality show "Project Runway." Gunn expanded on the issue of fur in fashion (like any good fashion expert, he's against it; he's even narrated an anti-fur video for PETA) for The Times' All the Rage blog. Here's an excerpt:

Tim Gunn Patt Morrison: Do we have you to thank for the fact that there is no fur in the challenges?

Tim Gunn: Yes, thank you! I was called a fool when I was chair of fashion at Parsons and I invited PETA to speak to students. The industry went crazy. I said: "Wait a minute. The International Fur Trade Commission is coming here. I have a responsibility to bring another point of view, let the students decide." I would say if you're going to use fur, you have a responsibility to know its origins. At Liz Claiborne, every brand is now fur-free. A woman assaulted me verbally for my fur position. She said one of [her] favorite items is a mink coat, and that furthermore, it's sheared mink, so people wouldn't even know it's fur. I said: "Then you have even less of an excuse. Sheared fur looks like velvet. You could wear a velvet coat." I'm also not a great fan of faux fur that looks real -- I'd much rather have it look fake.

And yet every few seasons, including this one, you thumb through the fashion mags, and there's fur, fur, fur. PETA's chic, no-fur celebrity messages can't compete -- they can't afford to make the same splash that huge, rich fashion brands can, and it's the latter that drive buying habits. I won't say ''taste'' because it isn't tasteful.

There's no reason to kill animals for fur. Wearing fur is like wearing a big sign reading, ''I'm in favor of inflicting cruelty and pain on animals as a fashion statement.'' Unspeakable torture is inflicted on dogs, cats, bunnies, raccoons, foxes, minks and myriad trapped, helpless creatures in the name of fashion -- yes, dogs and cats.


Photo credit: F. Scott Schafer / Bravo

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