Fashion guru Tim Gunn talks fur (specifically, what’s wrong with it)


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Our esteemed colleague and Unleashed contributor Patt Morrison caught up recently with Tim Gunn, the main man behind the popular fashion-themed reality show ‘Project Runway.’ Gunn expanded on the issue of fur in fashion (like any good fashion expert, he’s against it; he’s even narrated an anti-fur video for PETA) for The Times’ All the Rage blog. Here’s an excerpt:

Patt Morrison: Do we have you to thank for the fact that there is no fur in the challenges?


Tim Gunn: Yes, thank you! I was called a fool when I was chair of fashion at Parsons and I invited PETA to speak to students. The industry went crazy. I said: ‘Wait a minute. The International Fur Trade Commission is coming here. I have a responsibility to bring another point of view, let the students decide.’ I would say if you’re going to use fur, you have a responsibility to know its origins. At Liz Claiborne, every brand is now fur-free. A woman assaulted me verbally for my fur position. She said one of [her] favorite items is a mink coat, and that furthermore, it’s sheared mink, so people wouldn’t even know it’s fur. I said: ‘Then you have even less of an excuse. Sheared fur looks like velvet. You could wear a velvet coat.’ I’m also not a great fan of faux fur that looks real -- I’d much rather have it look fake.

And yet every few seasons, including this one, you thumb through the fashion mags, and there’s fur, fur, fur. PETA’s chic, no-fur celebrity messages can’t compete -- they can’t afford to make the same splash that huge, rich fashion brands can, and it’s the latter that drive buying habits. I won’t say ‘’taste’’ because it isn’t tasteful.

There’s no reason to kill animals for fur. Wearing fur is like wearing a big sign reading, ‘’I’m in favor of inflicting cruelty and pain on animals as a fashion statement.’’ Unspeakable torture is inflicted on dogs, cats, bunnies, raccoons, foxes, minks and myriad trapped, helpless creatures in the name of fashion -- yes, dogs and cats.