In the following weeks of Gucci’s and Versace’s decision to go fur-free, it looks to be that California cities are quickly on their way to becoming the next big trend setter, in terms of ditching the need for real fur based products. First, it was the city of West Hollywood in 2011 to create an initiative against the sales of it, and then following in 2017, Berkeley also adapted laws to remove fur products from the purchase point.
On Tuesday March 20th, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors followed in those footsteps by unanimously approving a law that would ban fur to be sold in stores; making it the first major city in the USA to make an ordinance against the fur industry.
The SF initiative will go into effect in January 1st, 2019, but store merchants will have an additional year to sell their existing inventory of fur products. For now, fur based items that have made it into vintage, thrift and otherwise secondhand shops, will still be available to purchase throughout the city, but only at these type of destinations. Sheepskin and Lambskin can still be found in those little shops, but endangered species furs outside of that will not be allowed for sale.
"The sale of fur products in San Francisco is inconsistent with the City's ethos of treating all living beings, humans and animals alike, with kindness," said San Francisco district supervisor Katy Tang.
This prohibition matches the values of the urban city - and for us, as a fashion company who believes is being fur-free at our core - we can’t help but to cheer for the new ordinance as a step in the right direction for animal rights.
Though, our nation was at the very forefront of trading fur in its early founding, the idea of the fur trade itself is an outdated tradition. Is it not? Maybe, it’s finally becoming the time for our progressive territories to create a new tradition: by forming laws that will help to discontinue the use of fur, all together. Now, San Francisco takes a stance in the larger conversation, by contributing to the overall transition away from purchasing such fur goods. And rightfully so, as there are simply so many alternative faux-fur options in the marketplace currently, most that come very close to match the luxury look, soft feel and warmth, of the real thing.
IMAGE OF FAUX FUR
Indeed, animal lovers like ourselves are supporting the ban, but not everyone is on the same page about it. And we can understand the debate. According to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, they estimate that fur sales alone account surprisingly for $40 million a year. Surely, this will be impacting a niche part of the fashion industry in the city. Where as, The Fur Information Council of America also pointed out that faux furs are almost usually made of petroleum-based alternatives, that aren’t very environmentally practical for the long term.
But then there’s always this bit:
“Far from being natural, sustainable resources, fur production is an intensely polluting and energy-consumptive process. Animal skin, once removed, will rot, unless it is treated with toxic chemicals... It takes at least 4 times more energy to produce a real fur coat than to produce a synthetic fur coat, mostly due to animal feed and emissions of manure.” said The Fur Free Alliance.
INFOGRAPHIC COURTESY OF THE FUR FREE ALLIANCE
And it’s true, both sides have a point on the matter. While one side claims the government should not get involved and the other side endorses a call to action, the idea of what fur represents in fashion is becoming rather dated for a lot of brands. Fur belongs in our history books, but no longer on our backs. And if you disagree, then that is your sole prerogative.
I can only guess that the next debate to follow – as this particular citywide ban concept gains further traction – is: would you, as a consumer, rather contribute to an industry that is killing animals on a large scale or would you rather contribute to the overall negative impact on the environment by using such fur alternatives? In retrospect, that sounds like an interesting no-win situation, now doesn’t it!
The final passing of the ordinance is set to go through March 27th, 2018. Yet, the only thing I'm wondering about next, is what major city will be following suit?
Tyler J. Drinnen, is the Founder and Editor in Chief of iTEM MAGAZINE. His primary goal as a Fashion Creative, is to document fashion history in the streetwear and art sector.
From the lens of an abstract visual content producer, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies from Sonoma State University; where he wrote a weekly Opinion Column for The Star, dabbled with his own radio podcast format, titled Saturday Nite Scandal, and helped to create one of the first Professional Student Lead PR Firms in the USA.
From there on, he continued his work by interning with Sonoma Discoveries Magazine and then shortly after wrote and interned for Fashion School Daily, where he solidified his love for feature writing and working with emerging talents from around the world.
In December of 2016, he received an Honorary Master of Arts in Fashion Journalism from the Academy of Art University – And what an achievement that was, to be the first in his program to have graduated a full semester early – Bringing him to four design oriented degrees in a short five and a half years, nothing will stop him from bringing art of the few, to the eyes of many.
He has worked in the fashion industry for just over a decade, from commercial retail visual management to corporate level ghost writing and consulting. Now, in this exact moment, T.J.D. takes his life public with the independent urban California lifestyle based fashion movement, iTEM MAGAZINE: A Platform For Rising Artists.