Fur In Fashion Regains Popularity And The Animal Rights Debate Rages On

Fendi will launch its first fur-only looks in the Paris haute couture shows this coming Wednesday, and is one of several couture brands recently reaching for furs again. Given fur-usage is such a hotbed animal rights issue, fashion influencers and designers on both sides of the fence are coming out to defend their stances on using fur in fashion, as reported in the New York Times. For now, there's no agreement in sight.

While Fendi has refused to comment on the show, other are more than willing to talk about it. Young designer Jason Wu, 32, explained "the pelt is not a political statement, but just another material, like wool or silk, that is a canvas ... I always love to look for things that are traditional and classic and reimagine it through my lens, for my generation."

Also on the pro-fur side, The Fur Council of Canada, attempts to take an environmental angle. The organization claims sustainably-produced mink or wild-sourced beaver are far more renewable resources than petroleum-based synthetic furs. Alan Herscovici, the group's vice president, said, "there will be fur long after the last oil wells are empty." To say the least, Herscovici's argument hasn't won everybody over.

Designers like Stella McCartney, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger are aligned with PETA's anti-fur stance, and proudly turn to faux-fur for their lines. Using synthetics recently in a line coats, McCartney shared, "For years, we were looking at fake furs, but it never felt like the right message for us to promote the look of fur. [But] we finally found something that looks great and is consistent with our philosophy on luxury and cruelty free fashion.”

With the leaps and bounds synthetics have taken to feel incredibly soft and luxurious, maybe Fendi will someday sing the same tune. See below for yourself how hard it is to tell the difference:

1. Fendi Belted Mink Coat

(Belted Mink Coat, $25,000, Barneys)

2. Stella McCartney Black Fur Free Dan Coat

(Black Fur Free Dan Coat, $1,955, Stella McCartney)

Image Credit: Barneys; Stella McCartney