Fur = Murder. Vintage Fur = Fabulous.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Feb 12, 2010
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"Claire Flannery"  boulder "vintage fur"

Eco Nazis (like yours truly) give you permission to strut about in Grandma’s Fox Coat and feel, and look, snuggleable and fabulous.

Fur might just be the epitome of selfishness. Sorry, mink or fox or bear or whatever, you’re gonna hafta die ’cause I like the feel of your hide. Fur is horrifically mean, and entirely unnecessary (my fabulous fashion designer friend, Brit Lisa Mills, has a fake fur coat that consistently gets rude and/or admiring stares from passerby).

My ex-girlfriend, Rose, was a lifelong vegetarian. She introduced me to her supply-and-demand-savvy rule: only buy leather and fur second-hand. While it may not be perfect, karma-wise, it’s pretty good. And so while I don’t buy leather anymore, I have bought two old vintage jackets that I wear the hell out of, and a pair of leather cowboy boots, and leather wingtips, at our friendly local Buffalo Exchange.


Models: intern Claire Flannery, rocking it and feeling less guilty than prior to iPhone photoshoot (she’d snuck coat into our offices, was busted on way out).

Other models…uh, I forgot your names, remind me. The littler one had just cut her dreads, which when worn with fur coat she said really confused those who were trying to judge her, both conservatives and liberals. We’re posing with our furry friends outside of Cup in Boulder. Photographer: Crystal Gray, our City Councilor, who now has full “eco” permission to wear her vintage furs!

The below video was sent to us by a twitter friend (who we actually know in 3D, too):


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


19 Responses to “Fur = Murder. Vintage Fur = Fabulous.”

  1. Donna says:

    The problem I have with this is that it perpetuates the notion that fur is glamorous and cool to wear….noone but you knows that is second hand – and a fashion statement is still a fashion statement.

  2. Aunty Liz says:

    I tell ya, back in the 70s I had an old raccoon coat (think Rudy Vallee or 1940s Hollywood~~it had giant shoulder pads) that I bought at a flea market in NJ. It was the warmest, most marvelous coat I ever, ever had. I loved it, but would never even dream of purchasing fur unless it already had a long provenance. I had that coat until it fell apart. Having spent a long time, many moons ago thinking about this topic, I agree that old fur is already there, so why not use it? I don't care about glamour. Never have. Other people will perceive what they will anyway…

  3. Good point. Though old fur coats seem to have different style.

  4. elephantjournal says:

    Via Twitter, I asked @PETA:
    RT @elephantjournal: Is Vintage Fur cool by @peta? http://bit.ly/cdG1nO

    Responses from Followers:
    If it were, I wouldn't wear it 🙂 (animals in shelters like it)

    That's always been my feeling.

  5. Via FB:
    Completely disagree and disgusted. Putting 'vintage' in front of it changes nothing as people see it being worn and have no way of knowing whether it's brand new or not, all they see is that it's OK to wear it. I thought Buddhists were concerned with all the suffering in the world, I can't see how defending this practice is alleviating ANY suffering.

    feeding the ego with another's torture, I'm sorry this is bullshit.

    Another great solution a friend just tweeted me, who disagreed with the above post: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1OWYca/www.causecas
    a few seconds ago ·

    Valerie, say what you really mean! Don't hold back! We're all about debate, you don't have to call us names for "being wrong."

  6. And you can always engage the wearer in conversation, as I did with the two ladies above. I said, "Are those vintage?" They said "yes, they were my grandma's" and I said "Oh, whew, I don't have to judge you now!"

    Something like that, anyway.

  7. Wow. Thanks for taking the time to copy that over, cut out the last names and post times…I do that all the time and know it's a lotta fun.

    I'm generally of the feeling that if it provokes conversation, it inspires learning and compassion. It's only ignorance and callousness that lead to people buying and wearing new fur. Wearing vintage fur—if you're vocal about it being vintage—lights up ignorance and pops callousness.

    That said, people I respect are "dead" against it, including Valerie, above, and my friend Nancy.

  8. Aunty Liz says:

    Absolute bollocks. Respect me or not. I think wearing an old fur that is sitting in some thrift store is no big freakin' deal. Maybe it's because I'm not a Buddhist, but I think there are many people who worry way too much about what other people do and how they live and how they make choices. Worry about yourself and be a good example to the world.

  9. For me, it's not about what others think, but about what kind of karma/responsibility, good or bad, I want to accept into my life. That has nothing to do with Buddhism—Christians, Jews, atheistics etc etc all have moral imperatives to be responsible for their actions.

    If something's secondhand, the thinking goes, it's already served its turn in the supply-demand wheel, and isn't contributing to new production/killing.

  10. Via http://www.facebook.com/elephantjournal

    I agree with Valerie. It's pretty disgusting to wear fur, vintage or not.

    The reason animals have come to near extinction is because of vintage fur. Don't wear it.

    vintage used to mean 50 years old, antique; 100. Its pretty easy to justify wearing vintage fur, that you know where it came from (ie great Auntie Helga who brought it from Poland in the 50s) that you don't seek out and buy, rather than just putting it in the compost. But i see so much stuff these days that's called "vintage" because people dont want to call it used or they think its chic.

    vintage schmintage. no need to wear "vintage" fur. rather donate to orphaned animals that can benefit from the warmth. HSUS and others have those programs and will often give you a charity donation.

    the brutal ways these poor animals are slaughtered for their skins is not something any compassionate person should be seen wearing.

    Lisa, that video is in the post, if you read it?

    Grrrreat point, Penelope. Vintage ain't 10 years old.







    elephant journal, i did read it, but thought many wouldn't bother going to the post so thought i would explain what they do. make sense?

    Perfect sense, gotcha. Hopefully folks will read, rather than judge by titles. Speedy, speedy world!

    Mary Ann
    Dislike! Wearing vintage fur just sustains the exploitation of animals and says, "I support cruelty and am NOT a compassionate buddhist". I like the idea of donating it to help animals. Dissing the fur industry is SO easy – where are all the buddhists hiding their compassion these days?

    ps- I never said YOU were bullshit, 🙂 I said THIS is bullshit. The act of trying to pass of vintage fur as somehow not being totally based in cruelty. Old or not, that skin got pulled off an innocent animal all so that someone could feel pretty and important and show off that they have money to afford such a thing. All of that reeks of ego. I love elephant journal, but I despise fur.

    OK, moving on…

    What good exactly does it do anyone to blame others for what has already been done? I did not kill the animals or order a new coat be made just for me. The animals were already dead when I purchased a used coat. I live in a northern climate. The used fur I purchased means to me that I am honoring the animals because someone is appreciating what they gave their life for–to keep a human being warm. Why is it wrong when I am using this resource?

    Valerie, you judged me as egotistical when all I want to do is keep warm from animal skins that have already been used.

    "Be the change you want to see in the world." – M. Gandhi
    Wearing a dead animal's skin, which hardly anyone would recognize as vintage simply by seeing it as they pass, is a visible support of the industry and its practices. It is a visible signal that feeds into society at large's tacit consent of the industry and its practices. If you would … See Moregenuinely like to see the industry fade into extinction then you might want to not be seen enjoying its products, no matter how you obtained them. I cannot see how someone else paying the initial retail price renders it automatically and instantly righteous.
    vintage fur/leather = legacy of cruelty

    I agree. It's a ridiculous way to try and "distance" yourself from the unbelievable cruelty of this industry. If you consider yourself to be compassionate, you should never, ever wear fur. If you inherit a fur, donate it to your local wildlife rehabilitation center so it can comfort orphans and animals in need. Can't even believe you're trying … See Moreto justify wearing fur here. Have the courage to watch the videos of how the animals are skinned alive in China for their "fabulous" fur and consider whether that is worth the price of vanity.

    I saw an expose a few years ago that claimed that most faux furs were actually dog (I guess that is technically faux fox).

  11. Via FB:
    I find some of the tenor here a little aggressive. "Aggression begets aggression." We're all hypocritical. Any of you righteous commenters drive cards? Oil from Middle East fuels wars, and climate change? You're all vegans, I assume? Who can throw the first stone?

    We can say what is "right" or "wrong" without insulting others. This is about compassion. This is about trying to do the right thing, and enjoy doing so. Secondhand, vintage does not directly contribute to the supply-demand chain that murders poor animals.

    That said, I think you all have a great point about the perception: it could look like new fur.

    I would hope these debates can be characterized by respect, and kindness. This is all about ignorance, and education, not people being "wrong" or "evil" or "egotistical."

  12. Jill says:

    Fur is nasty no matter its age. I agree wholeheartedly with Valerie. Second-hand fur may not be as bad as buying it new, but it's still wearing the corpse of a tortured animal. You might have a heart, but if you're wearing fur, you look like a heartless, ridiculous, nasty fur hag … no way around it. Go faux.


  13. Go Faux! Sounds like a new blog we should put together.

  14. Kelly says:

    I love collecting vintage furs.
    Here is a page for fans of vintage fur items:
    Coats, hats, vests, stoles, rugs, throws, teddy bears…

  15. Ines says:

    Many people this days wear vintage fur using that same arguments, one of the problems is that many vintage shops, at least here in UK, are aging new fur and selling it as vintage. So at least be careful.

  16. Ines says:

    I agree with you but eco Nazis was not a very nice joke…

  17. elephantjournal says:

    Tom—we're a resource for enlightened society. We're not enlightened ourselves. We are about moving in that direction, and prioritize genuine dialogue (and respectful disagreement) over being righteous while 98% of the population ignores our purity and goes on as they do.

    So we try and engage not only those who agree with us, but those who might consider not buying real new fur in this case, and really thinking the issue over for a first time. Make sense? ~ Waylon, ed.

  18. I have not one but two incredibly amazing vintage fur hand-me-down pieces that I have some pretty intense conflict about wearing. They are beautiful, and warm, and snuggly, and way more extravagant than anything I would ever normally wear… but they are made from bunnies. Part of me thinks, it's never okay to wear fur. But another part thinks, I did in no way support the fur industry when I was given this. I still haven't come to terms with how I feel about it. For now, they sit in my closet and I take them out to try them on every once in a while.

  19. I think even the vintage fur would give me the creeps…I love snuggling with animals & I think wearing their fur would be disturbing to me. I do love my old cowgirl boots! I try not to judge others' choices about fur/leather…or anything! Chances are I make choices about other things that would offend them. To each his/her own…