Meanwhile, there is this growing awareness in our society recognizing our relationship to animals and how they are institutionally enslaved by many industries. It has been exciting to see Hillary Clinton and the royals get behind the fight against the ivory trade and to see the impact of films like "Blackfish" on the world of entertainment that creates profit at animals' expense. Groups like Mercy For Animals and Farm Sanctuary are spearheading a more compassionate perspective for farm animals and many people are adopting a plant-based diet in solidarity with their animal friends.
But sadly, the fashion world -- so forward-thinking in many ways -- feels behind the curve with regards to a more compassionate and open dialog about animals. And you'll likely see much more evidence of that this tomorrow, when New York Fashion Week kicks off. As reliant as we, as an industry and culture, are to certain animals, these sentient beings are still viewed merely as raw material. While the fashion industry has led the way in raising funds and awareness for the public health crises AIDS and breast cancer, among others, and responds immediately to national and international disasters with fundraising initiatives, there's a strange blind spot here. Much like haute cuisine chefs who will not stray from certain cruel traditions, fur stands out as the "foie gras of fashion" and seems almost off-limits as a category for debate.
As an activist I can attest to the fact that those of us who are embracing a fur-free world are viewed as outsiders who have very little effect on the larger fashion system. But as a designer, I do get the sense that many fellow designers who use fur are conflicted about it and would happily walk away from fur once the fashion pendulum swings to a more humane platform.
In order to really move the fur free needle, I believe it's going to take one of fashion's handful of game changers to publicly abandon fur and come out as a true animal ally. Many designers who use fur also profess to be animal lovers. And yet that love is typically reserved for domestic pets, horses and other companion animals. I feel confident that if our industry's greatest game changer --Tom Ford, himself an avowed animal lover -- came out against fur and banned it from his collections, that the fashion industry would follow suit. Tom is one of our industry's most visionary voices, and while many are hesitant to challenge the status quo, Tom is fearless in his choices. I could easily imagine him rousing the industry from its sleepy denial that true and luxurious style can be achieved without causing suffering to our animal friends. It would be a major fashion moment! What do you say, Tom?