Love & Sex

Tools of Attraction: Fur

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Four New Yorkers on the politics of pelts. 

Dale, 20

So when is it acceptable to start wearing a fur hat?
That's a good question… Thanksgiving on, I'd say.

Why not earlier?
It's jumping the gun a little bit.

Do you have to go with real fur, or is fake alright?
Um, I usually do fake. I prefer fake.

So why did you go with fur? Is it for warmth or for style?
A little bit of both. I'm basically miserable in the city when it’s freezing cold. I hate winter, so I wanted something I could feel really comfortable in.

Do you think it makes you look tougher? More… huntsman-like?
[laughs] It depends. I don't think I look tough, but maybe it does add to the toughness a little bit.

Do people ever ask you about your hat?
This is actually the first time I've worn it out.

Oh, so this is a brand new hat!
Yes.

Did you feel a little nervous about wearing it for the first time?
Not really. I've worn crazier things around in the street.

Oh yeah? Like what?
Well, last year for Halloween I dressed up as an evil tooth fairy. So I was covered in gross gore, but I also had a pink tutu and a giant staff with a tooth on it. And wings. I think that was definitely the craziest.

Do you think there's a limit on how much fur you can wear?
Yeah, I think there is a limit. I think if you wear too much, it's a little over the top. If you're wearing a fur coat, if you add anything else, it's too much. 

Do you worry about your fur getting dirty?
I do, actually. Especially with the hat. Usually I wear product in my hair and I was thinking it might not work so well with this hat, so I didn't wear any today.

Arielle, 21, and Sacha, 23

How do you guys have the cojones to wear fur?
A: I have no idea. I just like it.

S: Yeah, it’s not really a big decision. It’s not moral or anything. We’re both lifelong vegetarians — we don’t eat meat. We’re total hypocrites, but we don’t care. Because to me, if you’re going to wear a pair of leather boots, what’s the difference between a cow’s life and a rabbit’s? 

Have long have you guys been wearing fur? Is it a recent obsession or have you been long-time fur lovers?
A: I got this jacket like, five years ago. And I think this was my first good one.

Where did you get it?
A: My friend actually gave it to me for my birthday.

That’s a nice gift!
A: I know right! I was stoked.

S: This one I actually bought at the flea market in California.

Are you from California?
S: Yeah, we’re both from L.A. Our mom had this fantastic squirrel coat when we were little that went to the floor, and I remember walking around in it when I was six.

A: That’s probably where we got it from.

S: Yeah, I can’t really say there was a specific date when I started to wear fur — there would always be little accents of it on something or another.

Do you guys attract attention together walking around wearing fur?
A: Just like, stupid comments. The other night, we went to get some drinks and we walked by some people and they called out, “There’s a whole lot of fur on that jacket!” and I said, “Oh, really? You noticed?” Either people love it, or they think you’re ridiculous. There’s no in-between at all.

What about when you tell people you’re vegetarian?
S: I’ve had some people who have gone off on me before, and I’m like, “Look at your boots!”

Josephine, 21

Is this a real fur?
Yes.

Do people ever get angry at you for wearing it?
Never with this one, but I have one from an old aunt made from a protected animal and I was wearing it once and I got some really aggressive comments. I would never wear it again. It's a fairly rare fur — you can't even sell it. But it's very old, maybe 100 years old, and it's been in my family a long time. It's a great piece.

Is this one vintage?
Yes. I don't think I'd ever buy a real fur.

Why not?
I don't really like the idea of killing animals to buy fur. It sounds a bit hypocritical but if the fur is already in the system — if it can be reused in different ways, I think that's great. I think it's silly to throw it away or not use it.

Do you get a different feeling when you're wearing fur?
Not really. Warmer, maybe.

Are there anything you would never wear with a fur?
I wouldn't wear double down on the fur. Like I wouldn't wear a black fur hat with this. 

Hayley, 27

Is this real fur?
No. Never.

Why not?
I'm a vegetarian. I guess I might wear vintage fur, but new fur, definitely not.  But I think this looks good enough.

So this is kind of like the Tofurky of fur?
Yeah, exactly.

Have you ever had someone come up to you angry thinking you were wearing real fur?
No, I'm from London, so everyone wears faux fur or real fur there.

Have you noticed any weird fashions in New York?
Not really, I think New York's not as crazy as London — if anything, it's a lot more gentle. You see a bit of stylish things but not in the same way as London. I think no one really shocks here and there's a bit more of a uniform.

What trends are you seeing in London now?
Grunge is really back in London, so lots of girls have faded pink or green hair and there's a slight goth-y sense to it as well. The ‘60s and ‘70s are back in. And the ‘20s as well.