Shirley shames fur trade fashionistas
Sun 25 Mar 2007
SCOTTISH rock star Shirley Manson is leading a counter-attack against fur-wearing celebrities by posing in a shocking poster with the skinned carcass of a fox.
Clad in a stunning Stella McCartney evening gown, Manson holds up the skinned animal beside the provocative caption: "Here is the rest of your fur coat".
Wearing fur has once again become irresistible to a growing number of Britain's style icons including Naomi Campbell and UK-based Madonna.
But this week former Garbage singer Manson will retaliate by appearing in the hard-hitting adverts as the new face of the latest campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).
Shot in Los Angeles by top photographer Frank W Ockenfels, the image is intended to display the bloody reality behind glamorous fur ads and fashion spreads. The poster campaign will start in Edinburgh, Manson's home town, before rolling out to cities across Europe during 2007.
Manson, who is based in Los Angeles and currently recording her first solo album, said: "I believe very strongly in the ethical treatment of animals. A lot of my fans are very pro-animal rights and have often, when I have been wearing fake fur, said: 'Is that real?' and really gotten upset, and I have had to reassure them: 'No it's cool, it's fake, don't worry.'"
She added: "They have made me very conscious of it, and I am really grateful that they have made me pay attention."
In the past year, an increasing number of celebrities have unapologetically donned fur. Madonna wore a £35,000 coat made from the skins of 40 chinchillas in December. Naomi Campbell - who once posed for an anti-fur ad for Peta - followed in February flaunting a fur-trimmed parka on the catwalk. This month Kate Moss joined pro-fur stars wearing a 12-fox fur coat. Hollywood actress Sharon Stone has also been seen in fur.
Anita Singh of Peta said: "Shirley Manson feels very strongly about the fur industry. She wants to use her influence to tell people across the world that life on fur farms is hell.
"Millions of animals are beaten and battered on fur farms every year. We have videos of animals dying for their skin after being strangled or brutally smashed in the head. Many of them wake up while being skinned alive. The cruelty is the same, whether it's minx, fox, rabbit or bear."
Singh added: "More and more designers and celebrities are acknowledging the fact that it is cruel to wear fur and that fashion should be fun, not grisly. Because of the stigma attached to wearing fur, and widespread awareness about this cruel trade, most people are now ashamed of wearing fur."
Mary McGowne, founder of the Scottish Fashion Awards, said: "There has been an increasing and alarming trend over the past few seasons to use fur again by some designers.
"It's worrying that influential celebrities like Madonna now endorse fur as a fashion commodity. Such endorsement penetrates the public.
"It's so important that other celebrities, like Manson, support Peta's campaign. If people knew the process involved in producing a fur garment, I'm sure they would vomit."
Twenty years ago, fur-wearing women were splattered by paint in the street as widespread public awareness about the trade prompted protests against the pro-fur minority.
But in recent times Elizabeth Jagger has been spotted in a jacket with fox fur detail, Sophie Dahl has been photographed in a white mink coat with a fox fur collar, and actress Melanie Griffith has been sighted in a jacket trimmed with fox and rabbit fur.
Members of the general public are following suit. Recent figures show that British fur sales have increased by a third in two years to £500m and worldwide by some 25%. Now Harrods is selling fur again, along with high-street shop Joseph.
Frank Zilberkweit, a director of the British Fur Trade Association and owner of the long-established London furrier Hockley, said: "You just need to look at this year's London Fashion Week. Everyone is using it. It's popularity is not confined to London. Go to New York, Milan or Paris and you'll see top names using fur. Around 400 designers worldwide used fur in their latest collection.
"Peta is employing a cheap stunt by using a fox carcass. It's a cowardly and shameful attempt to try to condemn a real industry that provides employment while regulating standards in animal welfare."
Anti-fur celebrities include Pamela Anderson, Victoria Beckham and Jordan, all of whom have said they would rather go naked than wear fur. This month, former Baywatch actress and glamour girl Anderson sent fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger flowers after he vowed to go fur-free.
Several high-street fashion retailers have also made the fur-free promise. Top Shop, Harvey Nichols, Oasis and Monsoon have strict no-fur policies. Meanwhile, leading designers such as Calvin Klein and McCartney have banned fur.