Published on October 22, 2013 | by Hollie Bracciale0
LCF face PETA pressure over furA leading animal rights group has urged London College of Fashion (LCF) to cut ties with fur companies that target students through competitions promoting its use.
LCF currently encourage students to enter a design competition run by fur company Saga Furs, which leads to many using real fur in their final graduate collections.
Prizes offered by the company include up to £500, free fur for their design and a month-long internship in the fur design industry.
The charity group PETA is asking LCF to “sever ties with companies that make money from violence”, while asking students “to let their course leaders know that killing animals for vanity is never fashionable – it is only unethical.”
“Most students see right through the paid product placements and freebies to what’s under it all: money-grubbers clinging to sales of a ‘product’ that comes from gassing, beating or electrocuting animals and then ripping the skin off their backs,” says PETA.
“Any students considering [using fur] should first visit PETA.org.uk and watch a video about fur production,” they said.
Although LCF are opposed to cruelty against animals, the college sees the use of fur in fashion as “a complex issue” and a “highly emotive subject”.
“It is our role as educators to contribute to the debate surrounding fur,” Professor Frances Corner, LCF’s pro-vice chancellor told Arts London News.
“As a global leader in fashion education we must allow our students freedom of creativity. The fabric and materials that a student uses for their collection is ultimately their decision,” she said.
“The fabric and materials that a student uses for their collection is ultimately their decision” – Prof. Frances Corner, Head of LCF
Valentina La Porta, BA Fashion Design Technology graduate, was selected as one of the winners in this year’s Saga Furs competition: “The competition was advertised through LCF and six of us were selected to go to [Saga Furs’ design center] for five days. We got given enough furs to make a whole piece. I made a coat which had sections of mink fur.
“I didn’t have a strong opinion about being pro-fur or anti-fur. [Saga Furs] showed us a video and explained to us the procedure behind the process and their ethic.”
A spokesperson for Saga Furs defended the competition: “Fur is an integral part of fashion and we are giving fashion students the choice to think about the use of fur in their collections and enter our design competition if they wish. Everyone needs to decide for themselves where they sit when it comes to fur.”
PETA is not the only charity appealing to LCF for a change in stance.
A petition started by Action For Our Planet has been signed by more than 600 people urging the design colleges of UAL and the Royal College of Art to “stop using fur immediately and utilise faux fur alternatives … so as to stop directly funding the cruel fur trade.”
PETA urges students to follow the example of designers such as Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren who refuse to use real fur in their designs.