Moncler Puts Live Wolves and Polar Bear Mascots On the Runway
Photo: Complex

Moncler, an expensive Italian outerwear and accessories line known for quilted down, decided to send some animals down the runway in Paris. Some of the animals featured in their AW13/14 collection were on leash, and some roamed leashless through the audience. Others were killed and in the form of coats and accessories. People in faux-fur polar bear costumes hugged the models at the end of the show, and this over-the-top spectacle seemed like all fun and frivolity in the name of fashion. But, like many people who saw the show, something seemed odd. There is a glaring disconnect that Moncler shares with other brands determined to say relevant in the luxury arena: Why we adore some animals, and do things to others that would showcase a deep hatred? Why adore dogs, yet wear the pelts of countless other animals like fox and mink who spent their entire lives on fur farms, deprived of every evolutionary desire, then anally and vaginally electrocuted, gassed, poisoned or bludgeoned to death. Why celebrate polar bears, yet subject other fur bearing animals like coyote and lynx to the languishing death of a steel jaw trap or snare, when they spend days bleeding, dehydrating, and even attempting to chew off their own paw to escape? As I spoke about with Berluti’s recent show at Paris’ Museum Museum of Natural history, this is fashion carnsim:

“…it’s rare that an opportunity to connect these dots so obviously presents itself. Fashion carnism, like traditional carnism, is a dominant, violent ideology that, according to Dr. Melanie Joy ,”…need[s] to use a set of social and psychological defense mechanisms to enable humane people to participate in inhumane practices without fully realizing what they’re doing.”

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photo: Refinery 29

Aesthetic irrationality is when we rationalize an object strictly based on its aesthetic appearance. In this line of logic, pretty and handsome are seen as a “good” regardless of the production process. Here, a typical dead-pile at a fur farm in Russia, are the parts of the animals that did not make it onto the coats or into the show:


photo by Sergey Maximishin

In early 2011 Born Free USA and Respect for Animals conducted a landmark investigation inside the world of fur trapping. They uncovered shocking cruelty and brutality involved in the trapping of wild animals for the fur trade:

Most people do not see animals like a fox or raccoon as capable of valuing their own lives  – at least not enough to outweigh desires to wear them or make money on their pelts. Don’t get me wrong, if I was living off the grid in the arctic circle eating blubber, I’d have no problem wearing fur.  But I also wouldn’t have to worry about an insatiable fashion industry obfuscating my clothing and turning it into a symbol of power, or representing romantic native rationalizations of food and clothing. The truth is that most simply don’t need the fur to survive, that the most exciting innovations are happening in the realms of high-tech, sustainable synthetics, bio-printing, 3D printing, organic plant-based materials like Japan’s biodegradable poly and other bio-plastics. Fur is just bad design and it’s only a matter of time before it is phased out completely.

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