History of Mink Jackets
The use of fur clothing was mainly used to protect the body from harsh elements which dates back to the stone-age. As the human population grew, furs for clothing and bedding typically came from sheep, cows, pigs, goats and smaller animals such as rabbits. The earliest record of breeding minks for fur was in the USA in 1860. Historically the trade of fur played an important part in the economics in the USA. Trappers opened up huge parts of North America and the trend of beaver skin hats led to fierce competition for furs.
In the late 20th century wearers of fur have been condemned because of the cruelty of animal trapping. Around 85% of fur pelts come from mink farms. It is the most farmed for its pelt than any other small animal. They have been farmed for the last 130 years in the USA. They usually breed in March and give birth in May. The kittens are then vaccinated and whelped then reared until their fur has reached maximum thickness which is around December. The average little is around 3-4 kittens. The best are kept for breeding stock. They are then euthanized and the pelt is treated and made into clothing. One hundred years ago the European mink could be found anywhere in Europe. Their numbers have decreased due to water pollution, habitat loss, hunting and rivalries with the American mink which were brought into Europe in 1926 for farming. Currently there are only very small populations of the European mink which can be found in France and Spain.
Once commonplace, fur has more recently become a very controversial topic. It has been the focus of many campaigns and anti-fur rallies. PETA and other animal rights organizations have called attention to the use of animals used for fur farming and the cruelty of it.
Famous in Fur
The luxurious look of fur reminds us of old Hollywood, famous movie starlets attending glamorous parties clad in expensive furs. Celebrities still hold major influences over fashions. Not just to be emulated by the consumer masses, but also on the clothing being designed by top fashion designers.
Many famous celebrities still adore wearing fur and are seemingly oblivious to the criticisms by animal rights activists.
Young stars like Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen have been snapped by paparazzi wearing modern vests made of fox fur and short mink jackets. Classic burlesque dancer, Dita Von Teese, the essence of glamour adores the elegance of long mink fur coats. Actress Kate Hudson sets the trend for Young Hollywood wearing white mink furs. Style expert Trinny Woodall, Dream Girl, Jennifer Hudson and former Spice Girl, Emma Bunton, have also been spotted wearing these luxurious furs.
Kid Rock, Timbaland, Mandy Moore and Mary J. Blige have also appeared in large furs, proving that it isn’t just actors and models that lead the fashion market.
Although the media doesn’t exactly see it as glamorous. When 5 of the world’s top super models posed with placards that read, “I’d rather be naked than wear fur!” in 1994 it caused quite a stir. Elle Macpherson, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford had the public queuing up to join them in the anti-fur protests. Wearing fur became a social faux pas and those who wore it were at risk of being abused by protestors in the street. Unfortunately all but one of these people has returned to promoting fur. Only Christy Turlington stuck by her choice. Stella McCartney said in an interview that, “there is nothing fashionable about wearing a dead animal.” More than 50 million animals will be murdered for their fur this year alone. Many will have spent their lives in horrid, cramped conditions on fur farms before being killed. We kill animals for food yet people still kill animals for clothing. Even with many other materials available. But such is the price of fashion.
Fashion has proven to be a very fickle business indeed. The fur industry was nearly extinct in the 90’s, but is now back with a vengeance and business is booming.